Cemetery People

Welcome to the Who’s-Who of South Brisbane Cemetery

This ongoing work will list short biographies for some of the people buried in the cemetery. You can help us by submitting your own entries. All entries are fact-checked before inclusion.

Affleck, John (1832-1910)
The Affleck families arrived from Scotland in 1855 and were pioneers of the timber industry in Warwick, Killarney Queensland from 1856 and were later to establish Glenmore Estate Swanfells District.

Baynes, Ernest (1864-1930): Ernest was born in South Brisbane, son of William Henry Baynes (1833-1898), butcher, and his wife Sarah, née Robinson. William Henry Baynes moved to Brisbane in 1859, joined Isaac and Hugh Moore on Barambah station in the Burnett district and on Condamine Plains on the Darling Downs, established a butchering business in South Brisbane, and represented the Burnett in the Legislative Assembly in 1878-83 and he was one of the original trustees of the South Brisbane Cemetery. Baynes made his fortune selling his “in” demand beef, at premium prices to the devastated Brisbane market. This was the beginning of a fortune that saw him own 50 Brisbane butcheries; and take over the main meat processing works at Queensport; purchase his own steamship “The Grazier” from William Collin to convey carcasses (from Colmslie to the South Brisbane Cold Stores – South Bank) and become president of the R.N.A. The Ernest Baynes stand at the R.N.A. was opened in 1922.

Blakeney, Charles William (1802-76): Charles, a judge and politician, was born at Cooltigue Castle, County Roscommon, Ireland. In mid-1859 Blakeney settled in Brisbane and was elected to the first Legislative Assembly in May 1860 for the Brisbane electorate. Blakeney was elected to the second parliament in July 1863, but resigned on 1 December 1865 on being appointed first judge of the Western District Court, which covered Condamine, Roma and Dalby. As presiding judge Blakeney was involved in the notorious Bowen Downs cattle-stealing case. He wandered from his son’s (William Theophilus) home, Cooltigue, at South Brisbane on 12 January 1876 and his body was found in the Brisbane River two days later. William Theophilus Blakeney was one of the original trustees of the South Brisbane Cemetery.

Blakeney, William Theophilus (1832-98): The eldest son of Charles Blakeney, William emigrated to NSW from Ireland in 1853. After a brief mercantile career he became a public servant in 1856, and at the government’s request moved to Queensland in 1859 to help form the new public service. He was appointed the first under-sheriff of the new colony in 1861. By 1865 he was the Deputy Registrar-General, and became Queensland’s Registrar-General in 1883. William married Eliza Louisa Carr, and they had five daughters together. The family lived in ‘Cooltigue’, a large house in South Brisbane named after the Blakeney estate back in Ireland. He died in June 1898 after suffering a protracted illness. The house was sold off in 1901, and its former location is today marked by Blakeney Street.

Boge, John Henry (1836-90) was born Johann Hinrich Böge in 1836 in the enclave of Wierenkamp in Holstein, Germany. Son of Johann and Magdalena, he worked on the family farm that was given to his great grandfather Hartig around 1750. He was drafted into the service of the Danish Crown at the age of 23 and was barracked at Kronborg Castle (Elsinore in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet) at Helsingør, Denmark. Austria occupied Holstein in 1864 and in May 1866 possibly fearing devastation or conscription, at the age of 30, with young wife Catharina and two year old son Hinrich, he departed the port at Hamburg just one month before the beginning of the Austro-Prussian War. After three months at sea and a journey of over 15,000 miles, the ‘Beausite’ arrived to Brisbane in August 1866. Of 390 souls, 18 passengers died on the voyage including young Hinrich off the coast of Brazil. Johann and Catharina settled initially at One Mile Swamp (now Wooloongabba) where, in 1868, their son Henry was born. From there the family moved to the locality of German Bridge (present day Holland Park) thus named for the many German immigrants in the area. They lived behind the German Bridge Hotel on Logan Road and Johann likely worked at Glindemann’s Highfield dairy, a prominent business in the area. John Henry died at his residence on Logan Road in 1890.

Bourne, Eleanor (1878-1957): Eleanor Bourne was born at South Brisbane on 4 December 1878, and her claim to fame is that in 1896 she was the first Queensland woman to study medicine. She graduated from Sydney University as bachelor of medicine and master of surgery in July 1903. In 1903-07 she was the resident medical officer at the Women’s Hospital, Sydney, at the Brisbane General Hospital, where she was the first female resident, and also at the Hospital for Sick Children, Brisbane.She entered general practice in 1907 and was appointed the first medical officer in the Department of Public Instruction in January 1911. In 1916 she went to England at her own expense and served as a lieutenant of the Royal Army Medical Corps in London, being promoted to major in 1917. for the next 20 years she worked in England before resigning due to ill health in June 1937. She retired to the Brisbane suburb of Manly. Eleanor was described as an ‘unusually confident and self-reliant woman within Australian society’, and was also noted for her excellent relations with hospital staff and patients. She died unmarried in Nundah Private Hospital on 23 May 1957 and was buried in South Brisbane cemetery with Anglican rites.

Brown, Selina (1873-90) For many years there has been talk of a ghost that haunts the Plough Inn at South Brisbane. It has been said that the ghost that haunts the cellar is that of Selina Brown, a young girl of about 8 years of age who had apparently drowned while playing in the cellar during the flood of 1890. This, however, was not the case. Selina and a man named Morgan were swimming in the yard at the back of the Plough Inn. Her body was recovered and taken to a house in Ernest Street where resuscitation attempts failed. Varying eyewitness reports made way to some confusion whether Morgan had anything to do with her drowning. A subsequent Magisterial Hearing began on 21 April 1890 and concluded on 30 April 1890 – by reports in the Brisbane Courier it appeared that Morgan had been cleared of any wrong doing. Selina was also 16 years old.

Cairncross, Captain William (1812-96): Capt William Cairncross arrived in Sydney in 1839. He married Elizabeth Edmonstone, whose brother George was Brisbane’s first butcher. In 1847 Captain Cairncross started a Bread, Fancy Bread, Biscuit Bakers and Confectioners business in Brisbane. The shop was on the corner of Albert and Queen streets, and the family lived on the premises. Elizabeth’s London training as a seamstress was useful in outfitting their seven daughters. In the 1850s the Cairncross family retired from trading and settled at Morningside. In 1881 they built a house they called ‘Colmslie’, after a Cairncross estate in Scotland, near the junction of Thynne and Lytton roads. The house had an observatory and Captain Cairncross relayed weather and shipping information to the authorities. Later it was used as a quarantine station and as the Colmslie Hospital. The Cairncross family were active attendees at Bulimba Church of England, arriving in a carriage complete with footman. Colmslie House was later demolished. The Cairncross Graving Dock, built during the Second World War, was named after this family.

Campbell, Annie (1870-1911): Prisoners who died at the nearby Boggo Road gaol were usually buried at South Brisbane Cemetery in unmarked graves. Annie Campbell was one of these people. Described as “a small, middle-aged woman with a small face and scanty brown locks”, she was gaoled for twelve months in March 1911 for “uttering a false document” – she had tried to cash three false cheques.  Formerly a widow, she had remarried just two months before. Unfortunately, when 41-year-old Annie entered Boggo Road Gaol she was pregnant. In August, feeling weak and in poor health, she showed signs of being in labour and was taken to Lady Bowen Hospital. After a long labour she gave birth to a stillborn baby. Three days later Annie herself died. The official cause of death was listed as “Alcoholism, Cirrhosis of Liver and general debility. There were no suspicious circumstances.”

Chubb, Charles Edward (1845-1930): Charles Chubb served as a judge from 1889-1922. He was born in London in 1845 and emigrated to Ipswich to join his family at the age of 16. His father was a solicitor and Charles himself became a solicitor in 1867. He married Christian Westgarth in 1870 and they had five children together, although two died young. After rising through the ranks he was appointed as attorney-general in 1883, the same year that he was elected to the legislative assembly. As an orator he was noted for the depth and clarity of his arguments. He was an MLA until 1888 and was appointed a judge of the northern district court in 1889. Chubb retired in 1921, and he lived in Highgate Hill until his death in 1930.

Connah, Thomas William (1843-1915): Connah was born 2 November 1843 at Birkenhead, Cheshire, England. Connah arrived in Australia in 1866 and lived with his sister Anne (wife of Thomas Blacket Stephens) until 1871 when he married Emma Barton Heywood. The family became active in St Philip’s Anglican Church, Thompson Estate. Connah was a lay reader, church warden and synodsman. The church was destined for closure due to insufficient funds for a stipend, Connah was licensed to conduct services there for a year until a new minister was appointed. The church erected a belfry in his memory after his death. Connah worked as accountant and bookkeeper for Bright Bros & Co until he joined the public service as an Audit Office clerk in 1873. He transferred to the Treasury in October 1875 and became under-secretary in 1902. In November 1907 he returned to the Audit Office as auditor-general. He helped to establish the Civil Service Co-operative Stores, and became the managing director. He was awarded the Imperial Service Order in June 1907. Connah died of a heart attack in his office on 2 November 1915.

Cripps, Arthur (1879-1934): Arthur Cripps was born in 1879, the son of a Sydney doctor. He received a good education and became an excellent sportsman, representing both Australia and Queensland in Rugby Union. His real fame, however, came as a boxer. He turned professional after a successful amateur career and was the undefeated middleweight champion of Australia for 12 years. During that period he also worked on his farm near the Sunshine Coast, occasionally taking time off to defend his title. Cripps gained a reputation as a “clean boxer, courteous opponent, and a honourable man”. He traveled around the world and wrote a book about his experiences called Above and Below the Belt. He became sick in 1934 and died in the Mater Hospital aged 55, leaving a widow and one daughter. His friends erected an impressive stone upon his grave to honour his memory.

Deighton, Edward (1833-94): Edward Deighton was a native of Cambridge, England and emigrated to Australia in 1852 following the death of his father. He was the Under-Secretary for Works and Railways from 1877 – 1888. He owned land which became known as the Deighton Estate – bounded by the thoroughfares now known as Annerley (originally Boggo Road) from the corner of Gladstone Road to the comer of Gloucester Street along that street to the Gloucester Street Railway Station, up Deighton Road to where Park Road West joins and continues along to a line running from the corner of Louisa Street and the foot of West Street to Gladstone Road and back to the corner of Annerley Road and Gladstone Road. On 20 July 1894, after a short illness Edward Deighton aged 61 years passed from this world. His grave in South Brisbane Cemetery is marked by a small freestone cross is situated on the knoll known as Oven’s Head about fifty yards from a peaceful bank of the Brisbane River.

Denham, Hon. Digby Frank (1859-44): 18th Premier of Queensland, from February 1911 to June 1915. Digby Denham was born on 25 January 1859 at Langport, Somerset, England. In 1893 Denham entered local government as a member of the Stephens Divisional Board where he served for nine years, four as chairman. In June 1902 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Oxley. In April 1904, Denham became minister for agriculture and for public works. Denham’s major contribution was the 1910 Land Act, which consolidated the Acts and amendments of the previous fifty years and removed much confusion. He was widely praised for his grasp of the legislation. After the election Denham carried the Industrial Peace Act (1912) which established an Industrial Court that did not recognize trade unions. By 1913 he was running into increasing problems with the farmers’ representatives in his party. At the end of that year, prior to his visit to Britain, Denham exacerbated his problems by holding a plebiscite among his parliamentary colleagues on the acting premiership rather than making the customary nomination. At the outbreak of war, however, he exhibited firmness in introducing legislation to deal with meat companies and other businesses which had tried to exploit the confusion. At the election in May 1915, the Liberals were defeated and Denham lost his own seat. He keenly supported the establishment of the University of Queensland and the building of its Women’s College. He also worked hard in support of a Queensland ambulance service.
The name Annerley, which was adopted from a place of that name in England was selected by Denham. He died on 10 May 1944 at Annerley. His family declined a state funeral.

Dods, Joseph Espie (1875-1930): Dods was born in London in 1874, a year before his father’s death. His mother Elizabeth moved to Brisbane with him and brothers soon afterwards, and married Charles Marks, a surgeon, in 1879. Joseph later studied medicine in Edinburgh and Public Health in Dublin. He returned to Brisbane in 1899 and set off for the Boer War, where he served as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps. During this conflict he was awarded the Queen’s Medal with four clasps. After returning to Queensland, he was appointed Government Medical Officer, a position he held until 1930. Dods married Anna Ruth Walker in 1906, and they lived in a townhouse/surgery on Wickham Terrace that had been designed by his brother Robin, a famous architect of the day.  They had three children during the next few years. At the outbreak of World War 1, Dods rejoined the Army Medical Corps, attached to the 5th Light Horse Regiment. Between May-August 1915 he served at Gallipoli and was awarded the Military Cross. In August 1915 he was badly wounded by shrapnel while retrieving wounded men from the battlefield, but returned to the front lines a couple of months later. Dods then served at Pozieres during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Once again he displayed great bravery and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and by the end of the war he had been promoted to Lt-Colonel. After returning home he ran a General Practice from his home, and another son was born in 1920. During this time Dod served as President of the Queensland branch of the AMA, the Medical Defence society, and president of the Queensland Club. Despite his esteemed position and his loving family, Joseph Espie Dods hanged himself at home in December 1930 for reasons which remain unknown. He was 56 years old.



The Grimes family: The Grimes family were pioneers of the Fairfield area. They arrived in Brisbane in 1849, coming from Warwickshire, England. William Grimes began work in a drapery store and eventually became the owner. Other family members bought a ridge near what was called the ‘Boggo scrub’ and grew potatoes and maize. They were experienced farmers and by 1857 George Grimes had started an arrowroot farm called ‘Fairfield’. At one time the family owned most of Fairfield as farms and a dairy. George and Samuel Grimes owned three farms in the Yeerongpilly area. They also experimented with arrowroot and sugar production. George and Samuel bought nine acres at Yeronga, which were transferred to William in 1885. Here they built their ‘Kadumba’ home. The family were staunch Baptists, and in 1862 they gave land for a Mission Hall, which was built in 1865, and later became the Fairfield Baptist Church. William Grimes was the first to hold services there. Samuel went on to become a member of the Legislative Assembly and George was the second chairman of Stephens Shire. William Grimes died in 1896 and George Grimes died in 1910. Several family members are buried in South Brisbane Cemetery.

Hockings, Albert John (1826-90): Albert John Hockings, son of Thomas and Jane (nee Thornton) was a seed merchant and one of Brisbanes’ best-known citizens. He was Mayor in 1865 and 1867 and a Member for South Brisbane.
Albert was one of the first subscribers to Brisbane Grammar School. He was also one of the original trustees of the South Brisbane Cemetery. His mother Jane had the honour of being the first recorded burial in South Brisbane Cemetery on 1 August 1870.

Horrocks Family Grave
It has been said that this grave was totally washed away in the 1893 floods, but not one grave was lost in any of the floods. Charles Horrocks – father of the executed prisoner, Francis Charles Horrocks – is buried here. It has also been claimed that Francis was buried in this grave and not in portion 6B, but the Brisbane City Council have provided burial records to contradict this claim. Charles Horrocks was a respected public servant, made chief clerk for immigration in 1880. Francis Charles Horrocks was executed for murder in 1892, aged just 17½ years.

Huxham, Hon. John Saunders (1861-1949): Huxham was born 14 May 1861 at Ivybridge, Devonshire, England. He settled in Sydney in 1879 and worked as a booksellers accountant. He married Eliza Jane Bubb in 1884 and they had five children. In 1889 Huxham moved to Townsville before transferring to Brisbane in 1893. He went on to become manager of Pollard & Co and when the firm closed he and a partner formed John Huxham & Co., importer and musical and sporting goods retailer. His wife died in 1896 and he married Helen Julia Meiklejohn (nee Dougherty) in 1897. They had one daughter. Huxham won the legislative seat of South Brisbane in 1908 but lost it in 1909. He won the adjacent suburban seat of Buranda for the Labour Party in 1912 and held it until 1924. He was interested in hospitals, prisons and Aboriginal matters. He became home secretary in 1916. He secured the control of the Brisbane General Hospital in 1917 and the transfer of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institute to the Department of Public Instruction in 1918. Huxham encouraged important developments in vocational education and in the treatment of disadvantaged children while he was minister for Public Instruction from 1919 to 1924. State education for the handicapped began in 1923 at the South Brisbane School. He died on 4 August 1949.


Jekyll, Captain John Richmond (1839-88): At the time of his death Jekyll was governor of Boggo Road gaol, a position he was appointed to in October 1885. He had previously served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, rising to the rank of Captain. After this he worked at the Darlinghurst and Berrima gaols in NSW, and then accompanied a NSW contingent to the Sudanese conflict, returning to Australia in 1885. Jekyll died in January 1888 after a bout of typhoid. Despite the short notice given for his funeral, there were about 30 carriages in the procession to the cemetery.

Kenniff, Patrick (1865-1903): Patrick Kenniff was hanged at Boggo Road gaol in 1903 for the murder of a station manager and a policeman. Kenniff had been charged for the crime alongside his brother James, who was also found guilty but had his death sentence commuted. The murder (in the Mitchell district), the long hunt for the suspects, the trial, the appeal and the execution were all front-page news. The case became politically charged, with the Kenniffs having the sympathy of many working-class people. Huge pro-Kenniff rallies and benefit concerts were held in Brisbane, but the cause was lost. His funeral procession was reported to consist of 60 vehicles, 26 flower wreaths and 400 people on foot. By the time the cortege reached the cemetery the attendance was estimated at more than 1,000 people.

Luya, Abraham Fleetwood (1837-99): Luya was born at Liverpool, England, in 1837. He was a midshipman, travelling to India before arriving in NSW at the age of 18, and then moving to Queensland ten years later. He initially worked on the railways, overseeing the erection of the railway bridge over the Bremer River at Ipswich, and then headed to the Gympie goldfield in 1869. It was there that he began a 30-year association with the sawmilling industry, establishing the Cootharaba Sawmills and McGhie, Luya and Co., sawmillers and merchants with an office in South Brisbane. In the 1890s he was the managing director of the Queensland Milling Company. Luya also turned his hand to politics, serving two periods as MLA for South Brisbane (1888-93 and 1899), and a term as Mayor of South Brisbane (1896-98). He lived on Gladstone Road, and was a neighbour of Edward Deighton. Luya died of heart failure at home in July 1899, leaving an adult family of three sons and three daughters.

Meston, Archibald(1851-1924): Meston was born 26 March 1851 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He arrived in Sydney with his family in 1859 and lived at Ulmarra on the Clarence River, NSW. He moved to Queensland in 1874 with his wife Margaret Frances Prowse Shaw and from 1875-81 was the editor of the Ipswich Observer. Meston represented Rosewood in the Queensland Legislative Assembly from 1878-82. He studied local Aboriginal cultures through his interest in exploration, and was commissioned to prepare plans for improving the lot of Queensland Aborigines. His proposals were embodied in the Aboriginals Protection Act of 1897. He was made a Justice of the Peace, and from 1898–1903 he was Protector of Aboriginals for southern Queensland, later including the central division. He was one of the first officials to visit Great Keppel Island in August 1900. He also collected plants in the vicinity of Rockhampton during 1906, and is commemorated by rare species of Garcinia mestonii F. Bailey and Piper mestonii F. Bailey which occur at Bellenden Ker. Archibald Meston died 11 March 1924.

Mowbray, Rev. Thomas   (1812-67): Thomas Mowbray was born in Hamilton, Scotland in 1812, arrived in Australia 1841 and moved to the Moreton Bay Settlement in 1847. He came to be called the ‘Father of Presbyterianism in Queensland’, opening Brisbane’s first Presbyterian Church for public worship in May 1851 in Grey Street, South Brisbane. In the late 1840s Reverend Mowbray purchased eleven acres of riverfront land, now the site of Mowbray Park, East Brisbane. He built his big stone house ‘Riversdale’ on a grassy knoll with views of the river. Mowbray established a school at ‘Riversdale’. At the time of his death his estate was eighty-three acres stretching from the present Lytton Road through to Logan Road. Thomas Mowbray was interred at the Paddington Cemetery (now the site of Lang Park) and was later re-interred at the South Brisbane Cemetery.



Paulovich, Mary Anne Phillips (1824-76)
Mary Anne Lyons was a young Irish girl who arrived in Australia about 1841.  By 1843, she had married William Thomas Phillips, a son of the pioneering Phillips family of Paterson, New South Wales. She and William had seven children before she formed a liaison with Robert Hector Paulovich in the early 1850s and by whom she had a further 5 (perhaps 6) children.  Mary Anne and Robert came to Brisbane about 1863, following periods of time in Sydney and Melbourne, and promptly established businesses. Mary Anne took the lease on Riverview House (later owned by Sir Joshua Bell) in Russell Street and by 1870 was advertising it for rent to gentlemen boarders and families. Archibald Meston, when writing about Brisbane in 1870, noted that:
On the bank of the river, at the foot of Russell Street, was a big stone house, kept by a Mrs. Phillips, who was Mrs. Paulovitch [sic], but was usually called by the name of her first husband.  She had two handsome daughters, Kate and Lydia Phillips. In after years Lydia married Gore Jones, the present day barrister, whose father was the famous Gore Jones, a barrister of Brisbane’s early days.    He will remember a little episode in which he and I were engaged when staying together in that year 1870. The butcher next morning asked Mrs. Phillips if two of her boarders had gone insane! It was supposed that he referred to Jones and myself!
In 1873, Mary Anne moved from Riverview House and took a lease on Acton House (now known as the Ship Inn Hotel). She ran the premises as a boarding house until March of 1876. She then moved to Hews Cottage in Grey Street which she renamed Bona Vista Cottage after the Phillips’ family property in Paterson. Mary Anne died at the cottage on the 27 September 1876. Buried in the same grave as Mary Anne is her daughter-in-law, Jane Phillips, who died in 1877.

Paulovich, Robert Hector (182074)
Robert Hector Paulovich was a cosmopolitan character, described by Archibald Meston as “a tall dark man of distinguished appearance”. Robert was born in 1820 in the Dardanelles, now known as Turkey.  His mother was English and his father was born on the coast of Dalmatia. At the time of his birth, Robert’s father Stephano was the British Vice-Consul to the Dardanelles.  Robert Hector came to Australia in 1837 with his uncle John Rickards (his mother’s brother), his cousin and his brother Francis.  Rickards established a number of drapery stores in the Hunter Valley area and in Sydney and young Robert was sent to manage the store and his uncle’s affairs in West Maitland and Musswellbrook. It is not known how he met Mary Anne Phillips, wife of William Phillips, a son of the well-known pioneering family of Paterson in New South Wales, but the couple formed a relationship. They left the Hunter Valley area in the early 1850s, residing for periods of time in Sydney and Melbourne before moving to Brisbane about 1863.

Robert started a general goods and drapery business advertising quality products at his premises in Queen Street very nearly opposite what was then the Town Hall. In 1870, he moved his business from Queen Street to South Brisbane opposite the Royal Mail Hotel at the corner of Stanley and Russell Streets.  Sadly, Robert died on the 30 January 1874 at Acton House (now known as the Ship Inn Hotel), the lease of which his wife had acquired only a few months previously.  His untimely death was a blow to his wife and family and was even reported in the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser on the 3 February 1874 as he had been “very much esteemed here”.  The headstone for his grave was erected by his son, also called Robert Hector.

(Thanks to Cathie Sherwood for the above information on the Paulovich family)

Peirson, Arthur Thomas (1867-1933): Arthur Peirson was born in Newcastle-on Tyne, England, in 1867 and arrived in Queensland as a teenager in 1885. He worked as a clerk in the prison service, rising to become the chief clerk of prisons by 1904. He was also appointed as superintendent at Boggo Road gaol, a position he held until his death in 1933. During this time he also served as Comptroller-General (1919-26). In addition to all this, he was a Major in the Queensland Military Forces and received the Victorian Decoration for long and distinguished service. He married Florence Drury in September 1897, and they had their only child, a boy named Duncan, in 1900. Peirson died one afternoon in May 1933 after a long illness. His funeral was well attended, with many government dignitaries paying their respects, including the Lieutenant Governor.

Qualtrough, William (1823-70): William Qualtrough arrived in Sydney in 1849. He moved to Brisbane and married Elizabeth Matilda Wade in 1851. William was a blacksmith but gained the interest in purchasing land. The last allotment he brought was 18 acres in what is known today as Woolloongabba. This is where Qualtrough Street exists and it is named after William. William died of Dropsy in August 1870 at his residence in Stanley Street, South Brisbane.


Soden, John (1837-1921): John Soden was born on 26 March 1837 in Coventry, England. John and Mary Soden arrived in Brisbane on the ‘Chatsworth’ in 1862. They worked on the Grimes arrowroot farm at Fairfield for six years before leasing 160 acres in Coopers Plains, bounded by Kessels, Orange Grove, Musgrave and Troughton roads. They built a five-roomed house and cultivated a portion of the land. They had a horse drawn wagon that John would drive from Logan Reserve to Nerang selling haberdashery and household wares. In 1875 they were granted ownership of their land. In 1879, John got the tender for the mail delivery from Brisbane to Rocky Water Holes and they bought Hardcastles Hotel on Ipswich Road at Moorooka. They moved into the hotel and converted it to a general store. The mail delivery became a general carrying company and then John and his four sons developed an omnibus business across the southern suburbs. In 1885 they had 25 omnibuses working 300 horses. The arrival of the railway line at that time reduced the business for the omnibuses, but Sodens continued on Ipswich Road as a general carrier and a farrier and coach building works. The hotel was used as their home until it was destroyed by fire in 1915. They then built a house on the site, but it has since been relocated. Soden’s works are shown on a map in 1943. The land in Coopers Plains was subdivided in 1885 and called the Orange Grove Estate. It is now the site of the QE2 Hospital, Queensland Scientific Laboratories, John Tonge Centre and some 600 houses. John Soden died 21 January 1921.

Stephens, James Brunton (1835-1902): Stephens was born 17 June 1835 in Bo’ness near Edinburgh. He arrived in Queensland in 1866, and after teaching for a short time he became a tutor for the Barker family of the Tamrookum station, situated on the Logan River. This was when he wrote his best known poem, Convict Once. In 1873 he published The Godolphin Arabian, and also a collection of his verse, The Black Gin and Other Poems. In the late 19th century Stephens was considered to be Australia’s greatest living poet. In 1876 he married Rosalie Mary Donaldson. He was the headmaster at Ashgrove in 1877 until he left in 1882. In 1883 he was briefly the headmaster at Sandgate but then was appointed to the colonial secretary’s office as a dispatch writer. Stephens wrote newspaper articles for several newspapers, and other publications of his included The Dominion of Australia (1877), An Australian National Anthem (1890) and Fulfilment (1901) are three of his four more patriotic poems. Stephens died of angina pectoris on 29 June 1902 and was survived by his wife, one son and four daughters.

Stephens, Thomas Blacket (1819-77): He was born at Rochdale, Lancashire, England, on 5 January 1819 and arrived in Sydney on the Bengal in 1849. Stephens established himself as a wool broker and on 24 January 1853 he moved to Brisbane and set up an export business. On 10 July 1856 he married Ann Connah, with whom he had twelve children. Stephens was the proprietor of the Moreton Bay Courier newspaper from 1859 to 1869 and renamed it The Courier. He later founded The Queenslander newspaper in Brisbane. In 1858 he was one of nine candidates elected to the new Brisbane Municipal Council. He later became Brisbane’s second mayor in 1862 and was returned as an Alderman until 1864. From 10 June 1863 until 19 May 1875 Stephens was Member of the Legislative Assembly for South Brisbane in Queensland’s Parliament. In the period 1867-1870 Stephens was Colonial Treasurer, Colonial Secretary, and Postmaster-General. In 1873 he was Vice-Chairman of the Queensland Board of Education. He was Secretary of Public lands in 1874-1875. From 22 July 1876 until 26 August 1877 he was a Member of the Legislative Council. He died on 26 September 1877 of cholera.

Stephens, William (1857-1925): William, the eldest son of Thomas Blacket Stephens. William was employed in the mercantile office for three years; was manager of his father’s estate; Director of the Imperial Deposit Bank, Brisbane Milling Co., Kingston Butter Co., South Queensland Co-operative Dairy Co., and was proprietor of Merrimac dairy farms near Nerang. He was President of the Metropolitan Transit Board; Vice-President of the National Agricultural and Industrial Association and the Nerang Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He was also a Justice of the Peace. William was a member of Nerang Shire Council 1882-1925; Mayor of South Brisbane 1888-89, 1899, and 1901; Member of the Legislative Assembly for Woolloongabba 1888-1896 and for South Brisbane 1896-1904 and 1907-1908. In 1907-1908 he was the Secretary for Public Instruction and Agriculture. He was Member of the Legislative Council 1912-1922. He died on 30 April 1925. William married Pauline Anna Caroline Effey, daughter of Minna Rowe. The house William built for his family is call “Waldheim” and still exists today, known as the “Clansman Restaurant”

Thom(p)son, Ellen (1846-87): Ellen Thompson gained notoriety as the only woman to be hanged in Queensland when she and her lover, John Harrison, were executed at Boggo Road gaol in 1887 for the murder of her husband Billy. She strenuously denied her guilt, and there remains some doubt as to the extent of her role in the crime. Ellen had been born in Ireland in 1846 and arrived in NSW with her family in 1858. Her life in Australia proved to be a hard one. She married early but her first husband died, leaving her a widow with four children. By 1880 she was in the Mossman River area of north Queensland and married to William Thomson. The marriage was not a happy one, and she fell for a young naval deserter (Harrison) who was working in the area in 1886. When her husband was shot to death one night, she and Harrison were convicted of the murder and months later were hanged on the same morning. Her last words, with a Catholic priest standing by her side, were:

“Goodbye everybody; I forgive everybody from the bottom of my heart for anything they have wronged me in this world. I never shot my husband, and I am dying like an angel. Oh, my poor children; take care of my children will you, Father?”
Thornton, William (1817-84): Thornton was born 18 June 1817 in Greenville Co. Cavan, Ireland. He was the first collector of customs in Queensland, and also served as Member of the Legislative Council, a Water Police Magistrate, and a member of the Marine Board.

“When asked what other duties the water police were required to carry out Thornton replied, ‘… keeping order amongst the shipping in the bay, they act as Customs House Officers and search vessels going up and down the river, the Sub-Inspector is a health officer and boards vessels in his capacity as such, and assists the Tide Surveyor in his duty by lending him men in bad weather to go to vessels in the bay as the Tide Surveyor’s crew has been reduced to two.’” (History of the Queensland Water Police)
Thornton died in June 1884. Sadly, his grave now lies unmarked as it was a victim of the ‘beautification scheme’.

Thynne, Andrew Joseph (1847-1927): Thynne was born 30 October 1847 at Ennistymon, Clare, Ireland. Andrew and his parents arrived in Queensland in 1864. In 1869 he married Mary Williamina Cairncross, who died in 1918, and in 1922 he married Christina Jane Corrie (nee Macpherson). He was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1882 and remained a member until its abolition in 1922. He was postmaster-general (1894-97), secretary for Agriculture (1896-98), and he helped establish the Queensland Agricultural College at Gatton. He was also president of the City Ambulance Transport brigade, a member of the Boy Scout Association, the Chamber of Agriculture, the Law Association and served as chairman of the Board of Technical Education. Thynne was a founder of the Rifle Association and captained Queensland shooting teams in the intercolonial competitions. He was appointed to the first senate of the University of Queensland in 1910 and was elected vice-chancellor in 1916 and chancellor in 1925. As vice-chancellor, he reaffirmed the position of the original senate that university professors should not be involved in politics. Andrew Thynne died at ‘Thoonbah’, his home in Highgate Hill, on 27 February 1927.



Ware, William James (1844 -99): William Ware was one of five executioners to work at the Boggo Road prison, and he conducted the hangings of 18 prisoners during his 13 years in the job. Originally from Scotland, his early career was spent in the civil service before arriving in Queensland in 1876. Ware was appointed “Public Executioner and Scourger of the Colony of Queensland” in June 1886. He married Annie Osborne during the following year. In 1892 she gave birth to their only child, a girl called Elsie, who died in 1898, and in November of the following year William James Ware died of cancer at his home in Cambridge Street, East Brisbane.

Webster, David (1864-1937): Webster was an early resident of the local area who had enough land on which to build a house and, in 1888, a cake and biscuit factory on Boggo Road opposite the gaol and school. His grand house, named ‘Beulah’, stood on the corner of Gladstone Road and James (now Lochaber) Street. He was born in Ipswich, Queensland, in 1864, and after learning the bakery business traded as a master baker in Brisbane for 54 years. His thriving business was able to support and service a number of his own tea rooms in the city.  He was known for his business probity and his social charity. The bakery remained open for decades after he died, and the company was eventually bought by Westons.

Wilkins, Russell (1836-1905): Wilkins was one of the most colourful residents of Fairfield. He was born in 1836 at Westbury, Gloucestershire, and emigrated to Victoria before arriving in Queensland in 1861. He established a stationery business in 1874, and later became an importer of china, glass and earthenware fancy goods, and fireworks. He also owned several businesses around Queensland. Wilkins established the Red Arcade on Queen Street, Brisbane, selling toys and fancy goods, complete with ‘a novel cash tramway…worked by electric motor carrying documents for scrutiny or change to customers’. The shop also had many toys and large realistic animals that made noises. Wilkins settled in his ‘Irvinebank’ home, off Fairfield Road, in 1892. His home was as extravagant as his shops. The extensive grounds were converted into beautiful gardens featuring a lake with black swans and carp. Peacocks roamed the lawns around caged animals and birds, including kangaroos and monkeys. The hedges were clipped into the shapes of animals. Every year on his birthday, Wilkins would give a garden party for all the district children, followed by a fireworks display. He died in 1905 aged 69. Irvinebank was later divided into two, and part of it now stands on Redarc Street, a reference to the Red Arcade.

Horace Elphee Williams (1885-1915): Horace Elphee Williams was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1885, into a family of water engineers. On 24 June 1908 he married Blanche Miller. The marriage was reported in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer as ‘a marriage of interest in cycling circles’, as Blanche was daughter of the captain of the St Leonards Cycling Club. A lengthy love letter from Horace to his bride-to-be survives to this day in which he reports that, “Cupid pitied my incessant love and turned the pure heart of my sweet lady that she grew fond of me.”

Horace and Blanche boarded the S.S. Otway in September 1911 to start a new life on the other side of the world. Blanche may not have known that she was carrying their daughter Gwen, who was to be born in Brisbane in July of the following year. Horace’s father, George, accompanied them on the voyage but soon after returned to England.

Using a reference from the Hastings Water Engineers office, Horace found work as an engineer in a fruit canning factory in Brisbane.

A second child, Roy Elphee, was born in July 1914. By this time it is likely that Horace’s health was already failing. It would have been with a heavy heart that he left Blanche and his young children to travel to Ballandean in the belief that the climate there would aid his recovery. A letter still exists that describes the rail journey from Brisbane to Ballandean. Part of it reads thus:

“Dear Blanche, I hope you are well and happy. You can be sure I am comfortable, but of course the separation is hard, but it is all for the best. The parting with you was harder but we swallowed it. Last night, in the train, at Gwennie’s bedtime, I wept. I missed her night night Daddy. Perhaps my indifferent health has made me neglect you all but God knows I love you all and if I regain my health we will have much happiness yet. I hope dear little Roy is alright again. I feel alright and certainly am resting my voice. Shall soon be starting cod liver oil. Ta Ta, your devoted husband Alf”

‘Alf’ as he by then liked to be known, died on 15 May 1915 and was buried in South Brisbane Cemetery the following day. Blanche sailed back from Australia to England with her two young children in July of that year, with a dream shattered and a life to rebuild.

It was with the help of the Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery that ‘Alf’s’ great grandson Matthew Williams, in June 2010, was able to lay flowers on Horace’s grave for the first time in nearly a century.

(Many thanks to Roger Williams of Nottingham, England, for supplying information about his grandfather).


Yorston, Grace Elizabeth (1863-96): Grace Yorston drowned in the Pearl disaster on the brisbane River – 13 February 1896. This was reported in the Brisbane Courier (14 February 1896):

“A terrible accident occurred on the river a short distance below Victoria Bridge last evening about 5 minutes past 5 o’clock. All traffic having been stopped on the bridge, the small steamer Pearl left the Queen’s wharf for the Musgrave Wharf, South Brisbane. The vessel carried a large compliment of passengers. Accounts vary to the number on board but it is thought it was between 80 and 100. The flood water was at the time running fairly strong, but not strong enough to interfere greatly with the handling of the steamer. On the journey across the Pearl steamed down the river a short distance in order to pass between the steamer Normanby and the Government steamer Lucinda. The Pearl, avoiding the Normanby, was carried by the current broadside on to the anchor chains of the Lucinda. The Pearl suddenly capsized, and it is thought that she was almost cut in two by the force of the collision.”