17 December 2010

More on John William Anderson of Owanyilla, Queensland

Further to my post on 26 Oct 2009 more information about John has come to light.

I received an email with this information:-

“J.W.Anderson was the Head Teacher of Owanyilla State School from Jan 1890 to - ??? (possibly till mid-1900s) Will try to confirm later.
He had 3 children attending the school 1. 'Jno' Norman Anderson (1891) 2. Mable Anderson (1895) 3. Robert Anderson (1895).”

From this I was able to find the following entries in the Queensland BMD Indices:-

1948/C709 John Norman Anderson John William Margaret Wood
1942/C3647 John William Anderson - - ** born Sunderland, England aged 80 years
1930/C1814 Margaret Anderson Andrew Wood Isabella Davidson

There was only one death for a John Norman Anderson. On further investigation I found the death of John William Anderson, unfortunately it didn’t give his parents’ names but it did give his age at death and where he was born which helped immensely. I then searched in the UK for his birth and possible marriage and this is what I found:-

Births Sep 1862
ANDERSON  John William     Sunderland  10a 413   
Births Sep 1887
ANDERSON  John Norman    Sunderland  10a 587

FreeBMD Marriages Dec 1886
ANDERSON  John William    Newcastle T.  10b 38   
WOOD  Margaret     Newcastle T  10b 38   
Marriage venue - St Philip, Elswick (from Newcastle.gov.uk)

With another stroke of luck I hit upon the downloadable records of the Index to Registers of Immigrant Ships' Arrivals 1848-1912 where I found the following entries:-

ANDERSON John W 24 Merkara 15 Nov 1887 IMM/122 317 Z1964 M1702, M1703
ANDERSON Margaret 29 Merkara 15 Nov 1887 IMM/122 317 Z1964 M1702, M1703
ANDERSON John N Inf Merkara 15 Nov 1887 IMM/122 317 Z1964 M1702, M1703

After a little searching of Australian newspapers I found in the ‘Brisbane Courier’ an account of the  R.M.S. Merkara arriving on the 16 Nov 1887 from London where it left on the 19 Sep 1887. Although John W Anderson’s name is not mentioned in the article there is a small mention of him (presumably):-

“The children also came in for their share. They have been fortunate in having a properly qualified schoolmaster to instruct them. He took both pains and pleasure in his work, so that the school was not the farce it usually is. Upwards of thirty books were given away as prizes, after which the children were regaled with cakes, sweets, etc.”

This 1881 census entry seems like it might be John William at home with his parents & siblings:-


The whole family are listed as being born in Sunderland, Durham except for the father who was born in Scotland. Nothing found on the IGI in Scotland for John M Anderson but here’s a possible marriage, the same quarter that son John William’s birth is registered:-

Marriages Sep 1862
Anderson  John Mills    Sunderland  10a 500   
Crawford  Jane     Sunderland  10a 500

I also found the family living at the same address in the 1871 census. I haven’t gone any further back on Margaret Wood’s or Jane Crawford’s lines but could possibly do more research if there is an interest in them.

Today I noticed that the Trove Digitised Newspapers had found an obituary for me in the ‘Cairns Post’ dated 30 Sep 1942. It seems like there were more children for John Wm & Margaret and it gives a little more information about John Wm’s life:-


Mr. J. W Anderson died recently at Childers. He had 53 years' duty as a public school teacher, and was at Innisfail when it was named "Geraldton." After retiring from the service, he lived on a cane farm which he acquired for his sons. His wife pre-deceased him in 1930. He was 80 years of age, and leaves three sons, three daughters, twelve grand-children, and one great great grandchild.


Queensland Historical Records
Queensland State Archives
Trove Digitised Newspapers


If anyone knows anything about or is connected to John Wm Anderson please do contact me, I would love to pass this photo onto a family member. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address. Many thanks to Cynthia for her help in furthering the research on this photograph.

Dawn Scotting