Category: Settlers and Battlers

Bringing Australia's History to Life

Catherine Coleman – Pioneer

Catherine Cecilia Coleman wasn’t famous, but was typical of a generation of Australian settlers. She was born in Maitland, NSW in 1856, eldest of ten children. She married in 1871, at the age of 15, and had the first of her own children a couple of years later. Her husband, John Douglas Coleman, was determined…
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The Girder that Wouldn’t Fit

  Things were tough in the NSW North Coast forests in 1907. All the cedar had been cut years earlier, prices for hardwoods had slumped, and the best way to make money was by shaping girders and sleepers. Tamban Forest woodcutter Bob Cooper was lucky enough to snag an order for a huge 86 foot (26 m)…
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Collateral Damage

Following on from last week’s post about Kate Kelly, spare a thought for the Jones family, who owned the Glenrowan Hotel when the Kelly Gang decided to use it as the venue for a battle with police. Ann Jones was the owner and publican. In the battle her pride and joy was burned to the ground.…
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Augusta Marion Gaunt

  Long before Charlie Gaunt rode the plains of Western Queensland and the Gulf Track across to the Kimberleys with the Duracks, his mother was a passenger on an immigrant ship, plying the seas from England to a new life in Australia. The family sailed on the Royal Mail Steamship Africa, in late 1852, and…
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John Moore Gaunt and the St Kilda Years

Continuing on the series of background articles to Whistler’s Bones, this one covers the arrival of Charlie’s father in Australia, the meeting of his parents, and Charlie’s early years. This is a long post, but if you’ve read Whistler’s Bones, or intend to, it will give you some extra background. Charlie Gaunt’s father was called…
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Catherine Coleman – Pioneer

I’m curious whether anyone who read this story when it was originally posted, and who has also read Whistler’s Bones, noticed the reference on page 75 to Catherine Coleman. Charlie Gaunt and Catherine must surely have met when the Durack droving teams passed through Forest Grove in 1883. Catherine Cecilia Coleman wasn’t famous, but was…
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“Captain” Joe Bradshaw

“Captain” Joe Bradshaw was one of the most adventurous of the early Northern Australian pastoralists. He was born in Melbourne in 1855 with cattle and farming in his blood. His father owned several properties in Victoria, including Bolwarra and Bacchus Marsh Stations. An explorer by nature, by his early twenties, “Captain” Joe Bradshaw was plying…
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Jack and Kate

John Warrington Rogers was the eldest son of a politician and QC from Tasmania and Victoria. Young “Jack” as he was called, was sent “home” to England to attend an expensive private school, but he wanted no truck with balls and banquets. As soon as he returned to Australia, he saddled a horse and rode…
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