Jessie (Murray) Corfield's lone grave, Teebar, Queensland 1853

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SACRED / to the Memory of / JESSIE / wife of H C Corfield of TEEBAR who departed this life / 29th May 1853 / May she rest in Peace

Jessie was born Janet Jessie Murray at "Georgefield", Langholm, Dumfrieshire, Scotland on 4th July 1824. She had migrated with her parents in parents 1842-43. Her family took up land on the Great Dividing Range between Lithgow and Bathurst calling their property "Warrawang". Jessie and 2 of her brothers, John and James Murray, migrated to the Wide Bay District and first took up "Wulooga" but were eventually defeated by the aboriginal Kabi Kabi / Gubi Gubi response. John became a Luietenant in the NSW Native Police, later Queensland Native Police which was intended to keep the peace on the pastoral frontier allowing graziers to take up and occupy the land for grazing. At the same time as John's becoming a trooper, Jessie married another grazier, Henry Cox Corfield and moved to his new run at Teebar. James continued alone trying to sustain "Wulooga" but he too sold out to Robert Tooth and moved to the Rosedale area, near their relatives the Little Family who owned "Rosedale".

There is another memorial headstone that was erected in the Barton Park Cemetery, Wallerawang, NSW to Jessie by her parents.

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Comments (1)

©IR Stehbens on August 5, 2007

In 1852, squatter Henry Cox Corfield having applied for Teebar as a sheep run, married Janet Jessie Murray at "Wuluga" (now Woolooga) and then once "things for Teebar" had been acquired in Maryborough took his new bride to live in a hut on "Teebar". The hut was perched on a concave bank above Teebar Creek and there they began their marriage. Jessie, as she was called had not only Mr Corfield as her mate but also her indigenous girl, Bessie, as a companion. It was a lonely start, and Jessie in letters home mentioned the loneliness and the deprivation. She was also coming to terms with local indigenous ways, which seemed to be more cordial than she and her brothers had encountered at "Wuluga". She wrote about introducing Bessie to the trial wearing of a dress - one of her own that she had taken up for Bessie, but Bessie didn't seem to manage that too well for it was soon very dirty, as Bessie sat around the fireplace. She refers in her letters to indigenous ways such as Bessie's remarkable swimming ability and underwater swimming. She comments on the death of "an old gin" who was taken up the creek for burial, and the death of "a young boy" who after his accidental death was cannabalised. "They ate him", she writes. "I think it is so melancholy..." Jessie continues "I asked Bessie the other day who made all the trees and flowers and things.." Jessie was soon pregnant and almost 10 months after her marriage she was delivered of a stillborn daughter. Jessie's own death, presumably from septacimia, followed a couple of weeks later. She was buried here, just below the dwelling, and I guess right beside the grave of a tiny infant daughter. So in reality this headstone erected by Henry Corfield marks the burial place of both his wife and his first daughter. The inscription reads: "Sacred to the memory of Jessie.." There is another memorial to her, inscribed on her father's headstone in the Barton Park Cemetery, Wallerawang NSW. Her family had migrated with her from Scotland to NSW in 1843 and settled at "Warrawang" on Mount Lambie above Rydal. Jessie and two of her brothers, John Murray and James Murray had gone to the northern pastoral frontier to establish their own futures in this wide land. John became a Native Police Officer after being defeated at "Wuluga" by indigenous use of fire and indigenous reprisal for the violence of their neighbouring squatter, J D Mactaggart at "Kilkivan". James though only 14 when they went to the frontier in Wide Bay District, later established himself at "Green Vale" near Lowmead and Baffle Creek. This headstone was replaced with a cairn by Jessie's greatniece in 2002. I thought you and viewers may be interested in some of the fascinating detail of early pastoral history.

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  • Uploaded on July 14, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens

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