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Moffitt, Mary (1845–1929)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Mrs. Mary Moffitt, widow of the late Charles Moffitt, a well-known pioneer farmer and grazier, of the Upper Shoalhaven, died at Dulong, Queensland, on Saturday last. She was the daughter of the late Edward Mitchell, of Sutton Forest and Taralga, and was born at Burragorang in 1845. In those days the nearest white neighbour was 40 miles distant, and blacks were very numerous in the district. In the 'thirties her father was overseer for Mr. Inglis, who had several station properties, and in company with white stockmen and aboriginals he drove cattle across the almost impassable Shoalhaven gullies to Ulladulla, then known as "Holy Dollar." Mrs. Moffitt, up to the time of her death, related many stirring stories of the blacks and the bushrangers. Her father afterwards settled at the Cross Roads, Sutton Forest, and there on two occasions, his home was visited by bushrangers. In about 1860 Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn went through the house. Her mother had the presence of mind to conceal a roll of notes in a Wellington boot, which passed unnoticed by the bushrangers. On another occasion the same gang surrounded the house. Policemen from Berrima, having been warned, had concealed themselves in the house, and were commanded by their leader not to fire until the bushrangers approached within 20 paces. However, one of the latter, on reconnoitering, saw a number of police horses with fresh saddle marks feeding in a paddock at the rear, and, scenting danger, they rode away to safety.

In 1875 Mrs. Moffitt married and settled on the Shoalhaven, where her husband was engaged in farming, grazing, and mining pursuits. He was a well-known resident of Shoalhaven, and in common with many of the early settlers he made fruitless expeditions in quest of the famous "Billy Blue's Gold Reef," a reef from which Billy Blue, an aboriginal king, was reputed to have knocked pieces of gold with his tomahawk and traded them for bottles of rum.

In her early days Mrs. Moffitt was a skilful and daring horsewoman. She is survived by a family of three daughters and four sons, namely, Mrs. Lachlan McLenn, of Moobal; Mrs. Powell Shepherd, of Cambroon (Q.); Mrs. W. W. Shepherd, of Dulong (Q.); Arthur E. (grazier), of Barcaldine (Q.); Herbert W. (barrister), of Sydney; Charles A. (Government stock and dairy inspector), of Singleton: and Sydney V. (Rural Bank), of Sydney. Another son. Theodore M., died many years ago. Mr. Moffitt predeceased her by eleven years.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Moffitt, Mary (1845–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/moffitt-mary-16103/text28042, accessed 25 September 2017.

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