FIRST REGISTERED GRAVE ON THE GYMPIE GOLD FIELDS
Albrecht Road, off Old Maryborough Rd, Corella (Gympie)
Donald Sutherland, a teamster, brought supplies in from Maryborough to the miners of the Gympie gold fields. Supplies were shipped from Brisbane to Maryborough and then as Sutherland did, delivered them on to Gympie.
Donald Sutherland had an unfortunate demise on the evening of Friday, 18 September 1868. Reportings at the time said that Sutherland was sleeping overnight at Seven Mile (now Corella) beneath his loaded dray wagon due to rainy weather, the dray unfortunately gave way in the soft, muddy ground and rolled onto him. Other reports were that Sutherland was not a well man. He had heart problems and other speculation was he had a heart attack overnight and was found dead the next morning.
Gympie Regional Libraries holds a copy of the Inquest of Death (police report) signed off by George Faircloth, Police Magistrate, Justice of the Peach. It was held at the 7 mile water hole, Gympie on the Maryborough road on the 19 September 1868 by Gympie Constable Walter Pickering with witnesses Dr Theodore Byrne, Mary Reid (residing nearby) and Robert Higgins, Carrier. It states where found and when “died at his dray on night of 18th Sep” with supposed cause of death as “disease of the heart”.
Constable Walter Pickering on oath stated:
“From information I received I went about 8 miles on the Maryborough road from (this morning the 19th September) from Gympie and in a camping ground under a dray I found the body of a man lying dead in his (illegible) with the shafts of the dray covered over with a tarpaulin. I searched the body and found two bottles of medicine, one pound note, a hay bill, (illegible), a packet of seeds, a memorandum book, a novel and a copy of the gold fields regulations, a razor, a (illegible) and a butchers knife, three pairs of socks, a flannel shirt, a tweed coat and a pair of trousers. On the dray there was leaning, a tomahawk, a space, and some tea, sugar, bread and meat and two saddle straps. I found nothing else. I believe the man’s name to be D. Sutherland, that name was on the medicine bottles and hay bill. I understand he was a married man and he had a wife and children at Maryborough or Tiaro”.
Mary Reid on oath stated:
“I am a married woman residing at the Seven Mile near Gympie on the Maryborough road. I remember last night, the 18th inst. (illegible), I heard some one shouting. A man came up to the place who had been camped with the deceased and called for my husband and said there was a man lying in the road very ill and (asked?) him to get up and see if he could do anything for him. When my husband got up and was going down to the dray, a man told him that the other man was dead and when (missing)….the deceased was dead. I heard a man at the dray (calling?) another “what is the matter (with? you?)” I heard a reply “I am dying”. I heard no scuffling or fighting or any noise beyond the calling out of the man. My husband told me the deceased was a short distance from the dray and had men with him. I have seen the deceased passing to and fro here frequently. I believe he is a carrier. My husband is now in Gympie. He went there this morning”.
Robert Higgins, Carrier on oath stated:
“I am a carrier. I remember last night the 18 September inst. I was travelling (illegible) in company with the deceased Donald Sutherland. He camped here about 7 o’clock just after (illegible). We had supper, deceased eat a heady/heavy supper, he did not then complain of being ill. He went to bed and about an hour or so after he got up and he came to my dray and he asked my mate to get the grey (mare?) pony to get a doctor as he was ill. He said he would (illegible) as he was ill. I saw it all and heard it all. I got up a man named Isaac who was with me, get up and led him toward the shanty to get assistance. As he was going over, deceased either fell or lay down and said he was gone, he was dying, and kept on praying. Another man who was holding him up gave him some chlorodyne (?) at the request of the deceased. After he drank it he threw it up, in a few minutes he was dead”.
Dr Theodore Byrne on oath stated:
“I am a legally qualified medical practitioner residing at Gympie. I have examined the body of the deceased this day and from the external appearance, I should presume he had a fit. I have seen the two bottles of medicine now in custody of the police in which I believe there is some digitalis – an overdose of which would produce death and the same symptoms would appear as described by the witness Mary Reid. It is my opinion a post mortem examination should be made before the cause of death can be positively ascertained”.
A post mortem examination was undertaken by Dr Byrne in which he confirmed Sutherland was of healthy appearance with no external marks of violence. However Dr Byrne reports that Sutherland’s “heart was gorged otherwise apparently healthy. The heart was very much enlarged and showed every sign of long running disease of the organ. I believe from all appearances that death was caused by the diseased condition of that organ”.
The Rotary Club of Gympie – Cooloola restored the site and headstone in 1986, with signage erected at the location of Sutherland’s grave. Circa 1994, due to the realignment of the rail corridor, fencing and retaining wall works were completed by Queensland Rail contractors. The grave was also raised two feet to above ground level due to its low lying position. Sadly, the removal of a gum tree that originally marked the site of Sutherland’s grave was also undertaken. The gum tree was reported (The Gympie Times) as being one of two believed to be up to two-hundred years old at the site.
“A carrier named Southerland (sic), en route to this place from Maryborough, died on Friday night last, at the seven-mile camping ground. He had been ailing a long time, and, it is supposed, died of disease of the heart. A magisterial inquiry has been held, but I have not learned the verdict”
– Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser,
Tuesday 22 September 1868, page 3.
“DEATH. On the 18th September, at Gympie, suddenly, Donald Sutherland, aged 32 years, leaving a wife and two children, with his mother and brother, to mourn their loss” – Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, Saturday 26 September 1868, page 2
Donald Sutherland married Flora Ann McKinnon on 27 October 1863. Together they had three children, although sadly their son, John passed away at 6 days old. On Donald’s passing, Flora was left widowed with their two daughters, Margaret Mary and Christina who were only 4 and 1 years old, respectively.
Flora Ann Sutherland (nee McKinnon)
Born: Circa 1842, England (however the McKinnon’s were Scottish, and lived in Scotland)
Arrived: 14 August 1854, aged 12 years (along with her 13 year old sister Mary). Their father had travelled over in 1853. Sadly their mother passed the same year and the two girls travelled on ship ‘Genghis Khan’ to join their father who eventually settled in Tiaro, Queensland.
Married: 27 October 1863 (to Donald Sutherland)
Died: 24 July 1897. Buried Maryborough Cemetery
Born: 1836, Scotland
Arrived: Interestingly, Donald also came over on the same ship as Flora on the ‘Genghis Khan’. Donald was 19 years old and travelled with older brother, John, aged 30 years.
Married: 27 October 1863 (to Flora Ann McKinnon)
Died: 18 September 1868, Seven Mile Camp (now Corella, Gympie, Qld)
Margaret Mary Sutherland.
Born: 3 September 1864
Married: 2 September 1886 (to Mr William Stacey) and remained in Maryborough.
Died: 25 January 1935. Buried Maryborough Cemetery.
John Sutherland. Born 13 August 1866. Died 19 August 1866.
Born: 1 August 1867.
Married: 27 December 1886 (to Mr Charles James Robinson).
Died: 16 March 1938, Burwood, New South Wales.