Annie Skyring (nee Murphy) was the fifth daughter of Mary (nee Cullen) and Daniel Murphy of county Wexford Ireland who had initially arrived in Sydney before moving to Brisbane. The children travelled from Brisbane to Maryborough by the old paddlewheel steamer the “Lady Bowen” and then journeyed with their older sister Catherine (who later married James Nash) and their father (an invalid) by horse team to Gympie. Annie was then aged 8 years.
It was 1868 and their mother Mary had already purchased land in Mary Street and had built the “Travellers Rest Hotel”. Stories of the old days paint a picture of evenings spent socialising and providing provisions for their guests. One could assume that the days were labour intensive as the family ran the hotel.
At the age of 22 Annie was married to Zachariah Daniel Sparks, only son of Zachariah Skyring of Mumbeanna, near Gympie. The service was conducted at St Patrick’s Church, Gympie on 10th September 1882 by the Rev Father Horan.
Annie and Zachariah’s life journey would prove to be colourful and eventful as Clarice Tuck, their granddaughter, chronicles in the Gympie Times (3rdJune 1994 p7): from managing Zachariah’s uncle Alonzo Spark’s “ Manumbah Station” during the years 1887 to 1889 to building the family homestead in 1895 at Pie Creek not far from his old Mumbeanna home. The Pie Creek homestead would remain their headquarters whilst Zachariah pursued a variety of occupations which included: engaging in mining; timber-getting, having both a horse team and a bullock team; farming crops; and running cattle.
In the early 1930s, as land was opened up at Tin Can Bay, Zachariah and Annie bought the largest block which was later subdivided and became the Skyring Estate.
The Gympie Times of 19th September 1942 records the celebration of the diamond jubilee of their wedding. Both were aged 82 years. During their marriage of sixty five years, Annie had borne him four sons and four daughters. She predeceased him in 1947.
The Brisbane Courier( QLD.:1864-1933 Friday 2 September 1927, Page 9 “ Gympie’s Wonderful Return To Prosperity”
Diamond Wedding reported G.T. 19th September 1942
Brisbane Telegraph, Tuesday February 15, 1955 “Glimpses of Gympie” Portrait of an old man by Gordon Benjamin.
Marriage 1882 Marriage Skyring Murphy 10th September, St Patricks Church, Gympie, by the Rev Father Horan.
The Gympie Times- Friday May 20, 1994 “The Great Weekender” An extraordinary pioneer. By Clarice Tuck.