Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Family Tragedies Unearthed; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Family Tragedies Unearthed; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

ON THE lower reach of the Tweed River a small burial ground was set close to the Terranora Creek for the internment of early pioneers for whom death was more likely to result from misadventure than old age.

The regionas isolation meant that deaths could go unrecorded and a headstone was the only reminder of someoneas existence.

In March, 1887, a burial ground was dedicated in Tweed Heads and was located on the lower slope of Razorback Ridge close to the NSW/Queensland border. The new Tweed Heads General Cemetery surveyed in September, 1886, by District Surveyor Donaldson was laid out in sections for members of various faiths, including Jews, Wesleyans, Anglicans, Independents and Catholics.

Dating from the 1840s, the old burial ground and the headstones on Terranora Creek were lost as the creek bank gradually eroded away.

By the mid 1920s only three headstones remained. One had fallen headfirst into the creek, a second was upside down on the steep sandy bank while the last was still in its original location a short distance from the creek bank. The two headstones in the water were later retrieved and placed among some bracken near the bank.

A few years later, an attempt was made to decipher the inscriptions on the headstones. One still remained standing in situ, another was broken into two pieces and the third one that had lain in the creek was lying flat on the ground with half of it heavily encrusted with oysters.

The oldest of the three was said to be ato the memory of Bridget Gillett who died August 18, 1856, aged 36 years. May the Lord have mercy on her soula.

The headstone covered with oysters was indecipherable on the upper half but the rest was deciphered as aAlso Charles Wootton who was drowned going from the Tweed River to Sydney on board the ill-fated Mary Jane on the 26th July, 1861, aged 45 years. May the Lord have mercy on their souls. Erected by his beloved wife Delia Woottona.

The last headstone reads: aSacred to the memory of Hannah, the beloved wife of John Boyd. aged 26 years; also Thomas. son of the abovementioned John Boyd, aged 2 years and 3 months; also to the memory of Mary Ann. …

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