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Obituaries Australia

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Barton, Emily Mary (1817–1909)

Mrs. E. M. [Emily Mary] Barton, relict of the late Mr. Robert Barton, one of the pioneer squatters of New South Wales, quietly and peacefully passed away on Tuesday morning last at her residence, 'Rockead,' Gladesville, having attained the ripe old age of four score and eleven years.

This remarkable old lady had enjoyed wonderfully good health. Three years ago she was attacked with her first serious illness, but from that she made a most remarkable recovery, and it was only within the last few weeks that her health failed her, and the unmistakable signs of approaching dissolution manifested themselves. She retained her faculties to the last.

The deceased lady had resided in Gladesville for upwards of forty years, and was highly esteemed by all with whom she came in contact. She was an active and warm supporter of Christ Church, Gladesville, of which she was a member for very many years. Mrs. Barton was a very talented writer, and the authoress of many small poems. She was the daughter of the late Major Darvall, of 'Rydale,' Ryde, one of the colonies earliest settlers. One of her sons, Mr. Robert D. Barton, is a large squatter in Queensland, another, Mr. Charles Barton, is the present member for Wellington, in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly; a third, is Mr. Arthur Barton, of Rydalmere, and she was also the mother of the late Mr. Frank Barton, Master in Lunacy.

Two of her daughters are still living in this State, Mrs. Rose Paterson, mother of 'Banjo' Paterson, and Mrs. Emily Paterson, of 'Richmond,' Gladesville.

The funeral which took place on Wednesday afternoon, was largely attended. Prior to the cortege being formed, a short service was held in Christ Church, Gladesville, where, for so many years, the old lady had worshipped.

The burial took place in St. Anne's Churchyard Cemetery, where the remains were laid to rest in a spot which had been selected by the deceased, adjoining the family vault.

Her husband, the late Mr. Robert Barton, commenced his career as a squatter at Boree-Nyrang, near Molong, and it was there in the latter end of the 'Forties' that the deceased lady had an experience that had never been effaced from her memory as will readily be understood. Boree was then in a very wild and unsettled portion of the country and the circumstance referred to was an attack by the Yass blacks upon a tribe of Lachlan blacks; the immediate vicinity of the Boree homestead being made the theatre of the savage conflict which ended in a massacre. Many of the Boree blacks, more especially the old men of the tribe, were ruthlessly murdered round the homestead. Most of the young men showed fight, and when outnumbered, escaped into the bush. The gins, and some of the old men made for the homestead as their only hope of salvation, and were hidden by Mrs. Barton and other members of the homestead, in the rooms and underneath the beds. Their relentless foes were so eager in the pursuit, that they came right up to the windows of the house in quest of their expected victims but were beaten off. Next morning one of the station hands found under a bush near the stables an opossum cloak rolled up in a bundle and on pulling it out was surprised to discover that it contained a gin and her piccaninny, the dusky mother, having no doubt, saved her own life as well as that of her off spring by the simple ruse. The only cause for wonder was how she managed to compress herself into such a small space, and to remain for so many hours in such a cramped position.

Original publication

Citation details

'Barton, Emily Mary (1817–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 October 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Darvall, Emily Mary

12 November 1817
Yorkshire, England


24 August 1909
Gladesville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence