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Collins, Jane (1841–1927)

In her quiet home, in the midst of country beautitul and refreshed from recent rains, surrounded by loved and loving friends, passed quietly to her rest last Friday morning Miss Jane Collins, of Mundoolun, in her 86th year.

Throughout her long life she knew but one home, and she loved it well. The eldest child of John and Ann Collins, she was only three years old when she came, with her parents and baby brother, to Mundoolun in 1844. With them she braved the dangers and shared the hardships of life in those early days, with them she watched the birth and growth of Queensland as a State, and with other members of her family she helped in the development of that south-eastern corner of the country which has come to be regarded as one of its beauty spots. The first home she knew at Mundoolun was a thatch-roofed, three-roomed cottage–the surrounding country being heavily timbered, and the river lined on each side with dense, dark scrub. Blacks were plentiful and sometimes dangerous, but no harm came to the only two white children in the neighbourhood. When Miss Collins was 11 years old a larger house was built, and for 74 years she lived in what is now known as the old Mundoolun home.

She received her earliest education from her mother, and as a child she was quick and resourceful. Her small frame was full of vigour, and she was singularly adapted to bush life. When only 13 she swam the flooded Logan River in order to reach home, and on more than one occasion she crossed flooded creeks on horseback. She was for many years a fearless horse-woman.

Further education in Brisbane led to boarding school in Sydney in 1835. Remaining there for three years, she returned to Mundoolun in 1838. It was during this period that events of such world-wide interest as the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny took place, and Miss Collins' remembrance of these events, remained clear to the last.

With a mind capable of best development her interests were widespread. Possessed of keen and accurate judgment and a great reader, she was an authority on literature. To the last day of her life she was able to quote passages of poetry and prose without mental effort. During the years of her long life her interest in the welfare and progress of the district in which she lived never failed. Her retentive memory, her impatience of exaggerations and inaccuracies, made her a reliable authority on subjects and events connected with the early days, as well as those of recent years. This, with her highly developed sense of justice, righteousness, and honour, inspired confidence and respect in all who sought her advice. Her sympathies were never restricted. Though times and manners changed, and though she herself never changed, she was tolerant of differences which might easily have offended her sense of what was fitting. She was intolerant of pettiness, and she would remain silent rather than speak an unkind word. Undemonstrative though she was, her affection never failed either old friends or new–and dear ones of past generations as well as those of tenderest years have been sheltered by the wide shadow of her love. Passing years deprived her of her nearest and dearest, and for more than 16 years Miss Collins has lived alone in the old home, save for devoted helpers and friends who cheered her declining years. St. John's Church, on the hill overlooking the homestead, remains for all time a tribute to the memory of their parents from the five children of Mr. and Mrs. John Collins. There–at last–she, their first born, rests beside them, together with two of the three brothers, whose names have been, for three generations, honoured throughout the State.

Her place will not be filled. She is the last of a line. It is the end of a chapter! But loving hearts will cherish and honour her memory, and not one will grudge her the peace that has come. Her life was long and calm and quiet. She was a noble example, and she did great good. Her passing was free from pain and sorrow; her last sigh quiet–almost as a baby's–in her sleep.

What is our life ?
It is ever a vapour, which
Appeareth for a little time, and
then vanisheth away !

Original publication

Citation details

'Collins, Jane (1841–1927)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/collins-jane-19733/text31028, accessed 24 April 2019.

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