Friday 13 January 2023

Debunking the myth of Amelia Fowler

 There is a curious story that has been perpetuated over the years, about the ghost that haunts Eschol Park House, that of Amelia Fowler. Amelia purportedly fell down the stairs of the house and died, (see our blog on Eschol Park House). 

Further investigations show that in fact Amelia did not die in Eschol Park House, but in Queensland. She had married her first cousin William John Graham at Inkerman Downs Station in January 1865 but tragically died 5 months later on the station. 

Inkerman Downs Head Station (State Library of Queensland)

Interestingly, another first cousin of Amelia’s, John Graham Macdonald, married another first cousin, Adelaide Anne Graham. All of them, Amelia, William, John and Adelaide were grandchildren of John Warby through Warby’s daughters Sarah, Eliza and Mary.

John Graham MacDonald took up farming in Victoria joining his brother Alexander in Geelong. Alexander was a well-known explorer, surveyor, accountant, and authority on Aboriginal place names and languages. John learnt surveying from his brother. 

He returned to Campbelltown at 21 and married Anne Amelia Graham there. He subsequently began farming in the Bellarine district, but at 25 he sold his interests in Victoria and rode north with a mob of horses to explore the Peak Downs region of Queensland in search of pastoral lands. Both of them took up large areas, and in 1862 took up the lease to occupy Inkerman Downs. I suspect that John encouraged his cousin William to come north to Inkerman Downs where they were until 1866. 

The final resting place of Amelia Fowler is not known. She has a memorial in St Peter’s Cemetery, but there is no burial record for her in the Church Register. It is unlikely she was returned to Campbelltown for burial from North Queensland. There are burials on Inkerman Downs station, but there is no record of Amelia’s death or burial. Her death is announced in the newspaper only. Either way, Amelia’s death at such a young age, a mere 5 months after her marriage was a tragedy, and may she Rest in Peace, wherever she lies.

Written by Claire Lynch

Sources - Trove, Ancestry, Burdekin Library, various internet articles

No comments:

Post a Comment