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Hayes, Sarah Margaret (1855–1929)

Mrs. M. S. [Margaret Sarah] Hayes passed away on Saturday morning at the Atherton District Memorial Hospital, after 52 years of life in Queensland, at its best and worst. She was a resident of Tolga, and as well as many relations had a number of friends in the North, having made herself popular with all who knew her. She landed in Townsville 52 years ago, a girl of 16 years of age, and after living there for some years she went to Port Douglas. Just at that time gold was discovered on the Hodgkinson, and to the Hodgkinson she went – and saw the place grow from a small camp to a town with thousands of inhabitants, and lived to see the people drift away again, and the country return to its original state.

On the Hodgkinson Mrs. Hayes met her first husband and became Mrs. Miller, but her husband died in the eighties, leaving her with two boys, William and Herbert and two tiny girls, who are now well known on the Tableland as Mrs. Edwards of Mareeba and Mrs. Cronin of Tolga.

Mrs. Miller then met and married Mr. B. Hayes, who took a prominent part in local government in Atherton when Atherton was first on the map. The greater part of the late Mrs. Hayes' life was spent in the mining fields of the north, Silver Valley, Watsonville, Herberton, Thornborough and others fields which have long since gone out of existence. The Rocky Creek Hotel was conducted by this grand old lady in the early days, and business in this respect was carried on in Kulara and Tumoulin afterwards. In 1900 she came to live in Tolga, where she made additional friends, who delighted to hear her speak of the adventures which befell the early pioneers. Mrs. Hayes was at all times prepared to accept the risks that are part and parcel of the settling of a new country and that she had the spirit and the courage (the greatest essential of all) to face and overcome difficulties is borne out by the following:–One time when residing in Watsonville she received word that her eldest son was seriously ill in Sydney, and there and then made up her mind to proceed to see him at once. At that time there was no train, or motor car to utilise, and in fact the roads were only an apology, the only means of egress being bush tracks through the scrub, which were generally girth deep in mud and slush. This, however, did not deter this worthy pioneer, for she saddled a horse and rode through the scrub down over the Range to Cairns, where she caught a boat to Sydney. The result of the trip was four days in bed, but Mrs. Hayes was none the worse for this great achievement.

The late Mrs. Hayes must have had a fund of information regarding the early settlement of the north, and facts which would have been of immense historical value had they been recorded. The deceased lady knew the famed Christy Palmerston, and told many an interesting tale of his exploits.

Few will credit that the blacks were bad in the old days, but Mrs. Hayes related seeing a man being speared in the streets of Watsonville in broad daylight, and when in a reminiscent mood would tell of experiences, tragic and humorous, that befell the pioneers of this great northland.

Her funeral on Sunday was a very representative one, showing the respect in which the deceased lady was held in the district. The Rev. Fr. Vignoles officiated at the graveside. Many expressions of sympathy were sent, also the following floral tributes:–From sons, daughters and grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. P. Murphy, Eacham Rugby League, Mr. and Mrs. Rolls and family, Mr. and Mrs. Hastie and family, Mr. and Mrs. R. Huddy and family, Mr. and Mrs. P. Montgomery and family, Mr. and Mrs. Murchinson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Galvin and family, Misses Morrow and Mr. Morrow, Mr. J. Tunnie and family, Mr. W. Morris and family, Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Howe, Mr. and Mrs. Bathe and family, Mr. R. Hood and family, Mr. and Mrs. Young, Mr. and Mrs. Neary and family, Mrs. Sutherland and family, Madge, Jack and Mervyn, Mr. and Mrs. Marnock and family, Miss M. Howe, Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Gyton and family, Tolga Cricket Club, Mrs. Grau and family, Mr. and Mrs. G. Hides, Mr. and Mrs. G. Martin and Elsie, Dr. and Mrs. L. C. Paine, Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Northey and family, Mr. and Mrs. R. Gordon, Mr. and Mrs. R. A. and Stevens and family Mr. and Mrs. H. Gilboy and family.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hayes, Sarah Margaret (1855–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hayes-sarah-margaret-26951/text34460, accessed 22 August 2018.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2018

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Lawless, Sarah Margaret
  • Miller, Sarah Margaret
Birth

1855
Wexford, Ireland

Death

2 February 1929
Atherton, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence