THUMBS UP Cemetery walk success
The Douglas Shire Historical Society’s first twilight walk in Port Douglas Cemetery on Sunday was a huge success with about 100 people attending.
They came from Port Douglas, Mossman, Julatten and some visitors came too, including a couple from Canada. Dogs and kids also enjoyed themselves.
The walk began at the grave of the first person interred, George Freshney who died on 21st June 1878.
He was a cedar logger on the Daintree River, and his brother Edwin survived a crocodile attack while taking a dip after work.
Stephen Oldham from Crimmins Funerals entertainingly led the crowd through the cemetery, highlighting the life stories of some of our pioneers.
As a surprise, Shaun Cram popped up on William Thomson’s grave and told the story of Bill being allegedly murdered by his wife Ellen in 1886 at their property on the Mossman River.
She was hanged in Brisbane’s Boggo Road Jail along with her friend John Harrison in 1887.
A video recreation of her trial can be seen at the Port Douglas Court House Museum.
Father Barry Patterson in his clerical robes portrayed Rev Edward Taffs who built St David’s church in Mossman almost singlehandedly against great financial odds.
Rev Taffs was in charge there for almost 50 years and died in 1950 aged 90, but did not see his church completed.
Annette Anich, secretary of the society, spoke of the murder of Sydney Algernon Barnard near the Foxton Bridge in 1885. The Anich family now owns the property, Booroondarra.
As the crowd drifted through the cemetery in the sunset, they came upon Claire Tierney at Diana Bowden’s grave.
Claire was dressed as Diana, wearing a shell necklace, a bright sarong and had a flower behind her ear. She held up a Nautilus shell to tell the story of the establishment of the tearoom which became Nautilus restaurant.
After the one hour walk highlighting about 20 grave sites, all our pioneers were toasted with champagne and nibbles in the rotunda.
The society is delighted to be able once again to share our heritage with the community.
RISING FROM THE GRAVE: Shaun Cram