ON WEDNESDAY, March 28, 2018, my cousin, Suezanne Lynch (nee Witton) and I, together with our husbands, drove to Biggenden to learn a little more about our family history.
We arrived at the museum where we were blown away to meet people who had lived in the houses belonging to George Witton and who took the time to come and share these memories with us. Not to mention a fabulous morning tea. Thanks ladies.
Lt George Ramsdale Witton was our grandfather’s (Edwin Witton) cousin.
We grew up with the knowledge of George going off to the Boer War campaign, and the tragedy that unfolded.
We were also aware he had written the book, Scapegoats of the Empire, on his return to Australia.
We understood these books were never distributed due to a suspicious fire at the warehouse.
Luckily George had a few copies at his home which the family kept.
This book has since been reprinted and tells a fascinating story.
George and Edwin’s grandfather, Joseph Witton, was the first Wesleyan minister in Australia and he settled the family in Victoria.
There has been confusion as to where George settled in Queensland because we are aware a George Ramsdale Witton is buried in the Cairns cemetery.
It was a chance meeting with Erica Murree at Biggenden who filled in some of the missing pieces of our family history.
It now appears the George Witton buried in Cairns was actually our grandfather’s older brother who met with a tragic accident while working at the sawmill there.
He had gone to North Queensland in order to work and support his mother and younger siblings following the untimely death of his father.
We are grateful to the people of Coalstoun Lakes and Biggenden who have, with love, taken the time to remember and document George’s time in the area from 1910–1937.
We would like to say thank you to Erica, Vi, Joy, Colleen and Clarrie for a very special day, sharing their memories, and retracing the places that played such an important part in George and his wife, Mary’s, lives.
We all had a remarkable day and we appreciate the time you gave to us. — Lynette Tungate (nee Witton), Mackay