Friday, 13 November 2015

Hawkesbury's oldest headstone

The oldest known surviving headstone in the Hawkesbury is that of John Howorth at Wilberforce.

On the 8 October 1804, eleven year old John Howorth died from a snake bite in Wilberforce. The circumstances were published in the Sydney Gazette and outlined how how he was tending sheep

The Sydney Gazette 14 October 1804 p. 4
The following week a fuller version of the situation was published. Here is an extract:

The following are the particulars of the unfortunate circumstances attending the death of the child at Hawkesbury last Monday se'nnight in consequence of the bite of a snake. Two sons of Mr. John Howorth, settler, went together among some standing and fallen timber, to look after a small flock. The eldest boy, sitting near a large tree in which three apertures had been cut for the purpose of searching after the bandycoot, unhappily stretched on of his arms within the hollow, and suddenly withdrawing it much terrified, acquainted his brother that he had received a bite from a black snake. The poor little fellow, conscious of his danger, with an air of despondency remarked that he should soon die; and complaining of sudden illness, made an effort to return homeward. But his faculties yielding to irresistible lethargy and stapor, he lost his way before he had proceeded many paces, and was observed by a neighbouring settler, who enquiring what ailed him, received in a feeble tone the information of his illness, but without assigning any cause of complaint. The good man took him into his house, and lay him on his bed. The parents were made acquainted with the state the child was in, and immediately attended him; but he was then wholly insensible, and continued so during the short remaining period of his existence. About four in the afternoon the doleful accident occurred; and at about the same hour the following morning he expired, to the extreme regret of his parents, who were totally unacquainted with the cause of his death until after the event had taken place; when the other disclosed the above circumstance, and the body being examined, a wound appeared upon the left arm, thro' which the noxious viper had poured the contaminating fluid.

The sad details of the unfortunate event are carved on his headstone:

It was the subtile surpent's bite he cride
then like A Rose bud cut he drup'd and died
in life his Fathers glorey
and his mothers pride.

John Howorth's headstone, the oldest surviving in the Hawkesbury, at Wilberforce.

On the 5 December 1960, when the Hawkesbury was celebrating 150 years of the naming of the Five Macquarie Towns, the headstone was moved from its original location on the Hawkesbury riverbank to the St John's Anglican Church complex at Wilberforce by the Hawkesbury Historical Society. Siblings of John's Elizabeth and Catherine, who both died in infancy, are also mentioned on the headstone. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Richmond Park

Located in the centre of Richmond, the ‘great square’ has played a central role in the community for over 200 years. Governor Lachlan Macquarie named Richmond in December 1810 (one of five ‘Macquarie Towns’) and the market place was laid out by the surveyor James Meehan in January 1811. It started out as 4 hectares and was bounded by West Market and East Market Streets however was reduced to 3.2 hectares when the land along West Market Street was assigned for government purposes including the watch house in the 1820s. In later years the Police Station, Court House, and the Post Office were established on the Windsor and West Market Street corner whilst the School of Arts and the Presbyterian School were further along closer to the March Street corner. Various trees and gardens have also been established over the years.
Richmond Park 1879, Government Printing Office Courtesy State Library of NSW Digital order no. d1_06267

The park has been used by the community for a variety of purposes over the years including recreation and sports. Large athletic days were held in the late 19th and 20th century. In the 1950s/60s/70s local schools met for combined school sports days. Both cricket and football have been played in the park for many years. The Pavilion (or Grandstand) was built by Samuel Boughton in 1884. The ‘RICHMOND’ sign (opposite the Royal Hotel end) was constructed in Boughton’s memory in 1922.

When the railway line operated between Richmond and Kurrajong the train cut across the edge of the park then travelled along March Street. Opposite the railway station the war memorials are situated, commemorating those who served in various conflicts. In latter years markets, picnics, carols by candlelight have been held in the park, which is managed by Hawkesbury City Council. The playground area has been modernised for new generations of children to enjoy. 

Following the end of World War 1 the community erected a monument opposite the Railway Station which is where by those who fought in the First World War and subsequent wars and conflicts are honoured. Names have been transcribed and can be viewed here.

Although there have been a number of renovations and changes in the park over the years it still remains an integral part of the town.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Melbourne Cup winner - Trove Tuesday

Grand Flaneur was an extraordinary thoroughbred racehorse who won numerous races including the Melbourne Cup in 1880. He retired with an outstanding career, undefeated earning over £8000.

GRAND FLANEUR - Courtesy Tyrell Collection, Powerhouse Museum 

After his retirement he spent many years at Hobartville stud at Richmond, once the property of Andrew Town which came into the hands of W. A. Long after Town's bankruptcy. Long was Grand Flaneur's owner. The great stallion sired a number of foals after being put out to pasture and no longer racing. He died at William Long's stud at Chipping Norton in April 1900. He was mourned by many and obituaries appeared in many newspapers including the Town & Country Journal 28 April 1900. This paper also produced a family tree of the horse.

A street bears the name of the famous sire in Hobartville.

Clarence River Advocate 24 April 1900