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Ledwidge, Julia (1833–1918)

Referring to the passing of Mrs. Julia Ledwidge a district pioneer, the "Riverine Grazier" says the deceased lady could no doubt lay claim to being one of the oldest natives of Wollongong, for she was born in the South Coast town in March 1834, being the fourth daughter of Mr. Patrick Smith Ahearn. At the age of 16 years she married Mr. John Ledwidge, also a native of Wollongong. Afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Ledwidge, and Mr. Christopher Ledwidge, a brother, set out for the Murrumbidgee, bound for Uardry Station, which was then owned by Mr. Harry Angel, the Ledwidge's stepfather. The Ledwidge's reached Uardry about 1856, and after a comparatively short stay there Mr. and Mrs. John Ledwidge came on to Hay (then Lang's Crossing Place), and settled on a block of land about opposite the old Carriers' Arms Hotel, where Mr. Ledwidge opened a butcher's shop. That was in 1858, or 60 years ago. This site was in later years occupied by portion of the Chinese camp, which in turn has practically disappeared. Mr. Ledwidge continued his butchering business for a considerable period, and amongst others who were engaged droving cattle for him from Uardry was Mr. Alec. Walker, now of South Hay, then a boy. While the Ledwidges were conducting their butchering business, Mr. Angel arrived in Hay with the gold and safe to open the first bank, travelling from Sydney in a tilted cart, artfully disguised to avoid the suspicions of doubtful characters who frequented the lonely bush tracks of those days. Mr. Angel was an intrepid bushman, having been connected with the Hamilton Hume exploring expeditions. The bank which he was the means of establishing in Hay was the A. J. S. now the A.B.C. Later on Mr. Angel left Uardry and settled at Wagga, where members of his family still reside. Mr. John Ledwidge died in Hay 43 years ago, and his brother, Christopher, died somewhere about the same time. The well-known Carrathool family of Ledwidges are descendants of the latter. Mrs. John Ledwidge continued to reside in Hay to the day of her death, and was intensely loyal to the place throughout. She saw the Crossing, with its few scattered habitations, and its roving bands of blacks, grow to a prosperous town, with big promises for the future, and it is hoped will yet be realised. And she had seen her old friends gradually dwindle away as the younger generations took their places. Yet she always declared it was "the best place". Well known and respected by the old hands, she had a large stock of reminiscences of the pioneering days, which a retentive memory and an observant nature had enabled her to store up, and she was always pleased to speak of her earlier experiences until a little over two years ago when she injured her hip so badly through a fall that her active life was cut short. She was unable to walk afterwards, and the life of an invalid soon brought about a break-down in health. A few days prior to her death Mrs. Ledwidge was seized with a stroke. For a time she appeared to revive, but she relapsed again, and peacefully passed away. Of a family of nine, two sons, Chris, and Robert, and four daughters, Mrs. Anderson (well-known in Hillston), Mrs. Winberg (formerly of Hay) and Misses Bibiana and Kate, survive her. Another son, Henry, died at North Wagga, about nine months ago. There are 10 grandchildren. The remains of the deceased were interred in the Hay Catholic Cemetery last Tuesday.

Original publication

Citation details

'Ledwidge, Julia (1833–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/ledwidge-julia-26091/text34111, accessed 9 December 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Ahern, Julia
Birth

7 February 1833
Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Death

1 April 1918
Hay, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

stroke

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence