Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Romance Ends in Tragedy; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Romance Ends in Tragedy; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

IN 1850 at Broulee on the NSW south coast between Bateman's Bay and Moruya a trim little wooden schooner of 36 tons named Madge Wildfire was built for a gentleman named Mr Longford who owned an establishment named the Blue Bell in Erskine St, Sydney.

Mr Longford launched the schooner to operate in the lucrative northern cedar trade on the Richmond and Tweed Rivers. The Madge Wildfire made a voyage to the Richmond River in October 1850 and the Tweed River in December of that year carrying a cargo of sundry items for the people living in the two regions.

Regular trips to the two river settlements took place and on the return voyages to Sydney the schooner carried a regular cargo of 20,000 feet of cedar.

The captain of the Madge Wildfire was an Englishman named John Smart who hailed from Fowey in the county of Cornwall.

Word had it that the gallant sea captain had formerly sailed at a very young age in the Victory with Horatio Nelson and continued in naval service until the end of the war against France's Napoleon Bonaparte.

He was not present at the Battle of Waterloo (fought June 18, 1815) nor did he enter Paris with the allied army as he once remarked to friends that land service was a little out of his element. A sawyer named Patrick McGinnis was working on the Tweed at the time John Smart was collecting his consignments of timber. More importantly Patrick's cousin Jane Smith, daughter of J Smith Esq of Ballymacash in the north of Ireland, was also on the Tweed. Between John and Jane a union was sought.

On Monday, February 51851, Captain Smart sailed from the Tweed River with his customary load of 20,000 feet of cedar.

One week later, on Monday, February 13, John Smart and Jane Smith were married by special licence at the Scots Church (St Andrews Presbyterian), Sydney by Presbyterian minister Rev John McGarvie. …

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