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Mary Powell (1836–1924)

On the night of August 14 there passed away, at her residence at Tyagarah, in her eighty-ninth year, one of the grand old pioneers of the North Coast.

The deceased lady was Mrs. Mary Powell widow of Mr. G. R. Powell, of Tyagarah, and formerly of the Clarence River. She was born at Ryde in 1836, and when only a child of three removed with her parents to the Clarence, then known as the Big River.

Her father, John Small, was a son of a non-commissioned officer on the staff of Governor Hunter, the first Governor of New South Wales.

John Small and his brother Thomas owned the schooner Susan, which was the first vessel to sail up the Clarence River. The vessel carried men there to work the cedar, for which the river soon became famous.

A lucrative trade was rapidly established. Deceased's father afterwards took up Woodford Island as a cattle run, and was the first man to take cattle to the Clarence by water. His was the first white family to settle permanently on that river, at what is now known as Tynedale. They landed there on May 1, 1839.

Mrs. Powell was a woman of a bright and cheerful disposition, and was kind and generous to a fault. A woman of keen intellect and close observation, she carefully followed the development of the Clarence, and personally knew most of the farmers who made the history of the river.

Her marriage with Mr. G. R. Powell took place in 1859, and the issue are Mrs. J. F. Small (Dee Why), Mrs. W. T. Bridle (Longueville), Mrs. T. Hamilton (Blakebrook), Mrs. C. F. Stephens (Bangalow), and Miss Florence Powell (Tyagarah). The sons are Arthur (Wetallabah), Fred (Arkarowie), and Harold (Coongbar). Deceased members of the family were George (Tynedale) and Mrs. L. Johnson (Drummoyne).

After her marriage she lived on Summervale station. Later on her husband acquired Taloumbi from Mr. Ryan. Mr. Powell afterwards purchased a property at Tynedale, and lived there for about thirty years. From thence he removed to the Richmond River and acquired property near Byron Bay.

Mrs. Powell named her new home Arkarowie, which means birthright in the Clarence native dialect. This is now a well-known landmark on the road to Brunswick Heads.

Mrs. Powell was a great favourite of all who knew her, and was always ready to help anyone in need. She took a keen interest in church affairs, especially those of the Anglican and Presbyterian denominations. Only a couple of months ago Mrs. Powell laid the foundation stone of the Tyagarah Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. M. Gerry conducted a short service at the house before the funeral left for the Bangalow cemetery. The Rev. C. Seymour conducted the service at the grave-side, and was assisted by the Rev. J. Robb, Presbyterian minister at Mullumbimby, who spoke very feelingly of the strong personality and many excellent qualities of the deceased.

The funeral was a large one and was attended by residents from all parts of the district.

Original publication

Citation details

'Powell, Mary (1836–1924)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Small, Mary

14 January, 1836
Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


14 August, 1924 (aged 88)
Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.