I acknowledge the Traditional Owners on whose land I walk, I work and I live. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and future.

Friday, 23 March 2018


Today the historian's task is made so much easier because the digitization of sources is advancing at a fast rate. One of those valuable digitized sources is TROVE where digitized newspapers are to be found courtesy of the National Library of Australia. Unfortunately old editions of the Herbert River Express have not been digitized, and may never be, but a large number of current and defunct newspapers  are. During a search on another subject I found this obituary of EMMANUEL MARTIN. He is a lesser known pioneer of our district. He was one of the first European suppliers of Ripple Creek Mill (formerly Ripple Creek Mill had only been able to attract Chinese tenant farmers because it could not pay the prices for cane the CSR did) and the property he farmed in 1905, BUSHFIELD, was an historic one, having been selected in 1871 by Francis Cashel Gardener. It was from Gardner that WILLIAM BAIRSTOW INGHAM had arranged to buy 700 acres for his INGS Plantation. The other properties that he farmed were also historic ones: FARNHAM which was a selection taken up by James Atkinson in 1870 and COWDEN (not Cowder) which had been taken up by George Wickham in 1872.
His obituary (sourced from TROVE) shows how enterprising the first European pioneers were:

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954), Monday 3 July 1950, page 2

Another link with the past was broken when Emmanuel Martin died last Saturday. One of the old pioneers, he left his blrthplace, Newcastle on Tyne, County of Durham. England, In the year 1883, arriving at Townsville in January 1884, in the steamship Duke of Buckingham. The late Mr Martin, after reachingTownsville immediately proceeded to the Herbert River district, where he engaged in his own trade of grocer with Reggazoli and Redman, general storekeepers, of Cordelia, Herbert River. After severing connections with Rcggazoli and Redman he took a mail contract delivering from Dungeness to Ripple Creek, Gairloch and lngham. (Dungeness was later destroyed
by a hurricane). He later turned to his old trade, opening the first General store at Seymour, Herbert River, which is now known as Bemerside, and which he conducted for several years. In 1905 he turned his hand to farming, on property known as Bushfleld, North Gairoch, supplying cane to Wood Bros, and Boyd. Ripple Creek Mill.
Later he also farmed properties known as Cowder and Farnham, on the Halifax Road near Ingham,cane from which was supplied to the Victoria Mill, near Ingham. In 1917 he purchased a cane farm from Mr. A. Barnes, North Gairloch, supplying cane to the Macknade Mill, which he retained up to his death. He retired from active farming and came to reside in Townsville in August 1934. In 1885 the late Mr. Martin married Miss Woods and reared a family of three daughters and six sons, the daughters being Mrs. Humphries (Townsvllle). Elizabeth Martin (Townsville). and Mrs. Tucker (Mt Isa), and the sons, Robert S. (Cairns). Hugh T. (Gordonvale) Ernest (Townsville), Michael T. (Ingham) and Matthew W. (Townsville). His eldest son, George R. died six years ago.
Ripple Creek Mill 1882. Source: Hinchinbrook Shire Library Photographic Collection

First ANZAC Day dinner Ingham 1920. Source: Hinchinbrook Shire Library Photographic Collection. G. Martin is back row, 11th along - tall man wearing a 'bow tie'.

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