Tocumwal founder’s headstone restored
Recognising the past and town founders is important for a historical town like Tocumwal.
Although often recognised for its rich history during the second World War, local community members want to go back even further to preserve the history.
Several years ago the Tocumwal Rotary and Lions clubs agreed to restore the memorial of Edward Hillson — considered the ‘founder’ of Tocumwal — in the cemetery.
The headstone was in a state of extreme disrepair and almost impossible to read, however Rotary persisted and last year paid for the $2700 restoration.
Tocumwal Rotary has ensured at least one important founder is remembered by restoring his headstone.
Rotary committee member John Gradie said the service club wants to promote the town’s history.
‘‘Hillson’s memorial is worth seeing but so are numerous other headstones because Tocumwal has had a number of other extraordinary families and people who are buried in this cemetery.
‘‘I believe it would be of great benefit to the town if there was a directory at the cemetery entrance noting these people and the position of their graves.
‘‘It is perhaps something the shire could undertake as you see this in other places of Australia.
‘‘It is also a tribute to the Lions Club which keeps the cemetery in exceptional condition.,’’ Mr Gradie said.
Edward Hillson was born in Sydney in 1833 and died in Tocumwal in 1892.
He first arrived in the Murray River town around 1860 when he purchased land.
Mr Gradie said although there were others who arrived in Tocumwal before, it was Mr Hillson who built and developed the town.
‘‘Hillson is an incredibly important person for Tocumwal. From my own research he was an exceptional entrepreneur and business man, and was known as the ‘King of Tocumwal’.
‘‘He was the the universal provider to the town and district in which he built, owned and operated the punt on the Murray, the large general store and the hotel.
‘‘He owned the butcher, baker, blacksmiths and bootmaker shops. He also owned ‘Woperana Station’ and numerous properties in Tocumwal.’’
Mr Gradie added Mr Hillson’s wife Mary provided the town medical assistance before the arrival of a doctor.
The Tocumwal cemetery Barooga Rd. is on the