3. Echuca and Moama 1874 to 1883

Echuca / Moama

The Cairnes family take new opportunities  in the mid 1870’s. After the floods on the Murray around Echuca and Moama in 1870, the twin towns were rebuilt on higher ground and moves were put in place to take the rail to this border twin town. Huge stands of timber were ready to be felled and milled and trade grew a pace.

The Floods in Echuca / Moama in  1870

The Floods in Echuca / Moama in 1870

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An image of Echuca found in WBC’s old Album

Leaving behind Elizabeth’s parents and William’s sister Theresa Philips in Castlemaine, the family moves further north to the borders of NSW and Victoria, where the rail line had been established some years previous.

There is evidence of the family in the Echuca area on the River Murray from about 1874 to about 1884.

The Murray Crossing 1875 Echuca

The Murray Crossing 1875 Echuca

 

The railway crossing over the Murray was introduced during this period in 1876, thus partly doing away with the river punt and allowing produce to cross into NSW uninterrupted by the mighty Murray. It meant great economic changes to the area in a relatively short period.

The River Punt Echuca 1870's

The River Punt Echuca 1870’s

There is  also evidence that WBC had a timber yard, and an Undertakers and presumably ran an Ironmongers supply. There are adverts in the local papers stating he supplied buildings also.He lived on the NSW side of the Murray in Moama, though records provided by the Echuca Historical Society tell us he never owned property there.

Flora Moama Cairnes  is born here in 1875.

William’s father, Montgomery Cairnes dies 12 March 1877 in Dublin Ireland.

The following year in April 1878, WBC is found returning from London on the SS Garonne with a Mrs W B Cairnes.  His mother returns  with him at this date to settle with her only surviving son in Victoria. Presumably they all returned back to Echuca after the long return journey from Ireland.

SS Garonne, the ship WBC and his mother in which sailed to Melbourne

SS Garonne, the ship WBC and his mother in which sailed to Melbourne

In the same year, WBC is appointed a JP in Moama, Echuca’s twin town on the NSW border.

Echuca former Town Hall and Court House Built 1869, where WBC was a magistrate from 1877.

Echuca former Town Hall and Court House Built 1869, where WBC was a magistrate from 1877.

He also is appointed a magistrate in Victoria. He is 46.

His Timber yard and Undertakers and wooden house were opposite the Court House where the Subway food outlet now is. It took up the whole block on the riverside corner of Heygarth and High Streets.

The site of WBC's house, Undertakers and Timberyard.Diectly opposite former Echuca Town Hall and Courthouse. He also had a sawyard somewhere in town.

The site of WBC’s house, Undertakers and Timberyard.Diectly opposite former Echuca Town Hall and Courthouse. He also had a sawyard somewhere in town.

Echuca Court House. WBC Undertaker was opposite the Courthouse in Echuca

Echuca Court House. WBC Undertaker was opposite the Courthouse in Echuca

WBC from his Album. He looks in his late 40's perhaps

WBC from his Album. He looks in his mid 50’s perhaps

William their first born dies  in Echuca , 1880 age 23.

 

William Cairnes , the eldest child, looking about 16

William Cairnes , the eldest child, looking about 16

Their one year old Arabella, born in Echuca, also dies this year, in the same month. They are both found buried with WBC’s mother, and Elizabeth’s parents at the Cambells Creek Cemetery near Castlemaine in the Wesleyan Section. This must have been a heartbreaking time for the family, as William looks like such a strong and sturdy young man. I have found a newspaper entry on Trove recently as to how they both died.

William dies of consumption at 23 and Arabella  of congestion of the brain ( meningitis?) within days of each other. What terrible sadness.

William dies of consumptionat 23 and Arrabella of congestion of the brain ( meningitis?) within days of each other. What terrible sadness.

William Cairnes, not long before he dies aged 22.This is from the WBC Album, as is the previous.

William Cairnes, not long before he dies aged 22.This is from the WBC Album, as is the previous.

Harry Cairnes ( Henry Moore Cairnes -born 1871) aged about 9 ( my grandfather ) at about the time the family lived in Echuca / Moama

Harry Cairnes ( Henry Moore born 1871) aged about 9 ( my grandfather )

In 1882 Elsie May Cairnes is born in Castlemaine, though the family has been living in the Moama /Echuca area.  There is an advert in the Riverina Herald of the time, describing a private sale. WBC named their next house in Yarrawonga Cairnesville too. It was still being called Cairnesville way after the family had left for Yarrawonga- into the late 1890’s. I can’t find where the exact address was.

This property was still referred to as Cairnesville well into the late 1890's

This property was still referred to as Cairnesville well into the late 1890’s

Perhaps Elizabeth , now age 40 , has returned to her parental home to be with her midwife mother for the birth of this child. She has her last two children in Yarrawonga in 1884 and 1886.

By 1885 there is evidence that WBC has moved his family from Echuca and is a storekeeper in Wilby, just south of Yarrawonga.

There are advertisements placed in local papers asking for tenders to move 30 tons ( of timber or belongings?) by river steamer to Yarrawonga.

The family is on the move again.

Echuca Wharf 2014

Echuca Wharf 2014

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