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Agnes Zwar (1836–1891)

The King of Terrors has again visited our quiet township and after a long and painful struggle has at length claimed another victory in the person of Mrs Zwar. For at least seven months the deceased lady has been battling with a fell disease, whose very name is a terror and though medical science has been ransacked, and all that skill and love could suggest have been done to stay its ravage, the insidious malady but strengthened its Python grip, till after three weary months of agonising confinement to her room the struggle has been given up.

The end came not unexpectedly. Dr. O’Hara, the famous Melbourne Physician, had visited Mrs Zwar a fortnight ago and pronounced the case utterly hopeless, and so prepared the family for the parting day, and on Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock, with all her family around her with but one exception, the sufferer passed peacefully and painlessly away.

The mortuary arrangements were committed to Mr. Bossence of Kilmore, and the funeral fixed for Wednesday. Long before the time appointed, a large number of carriages, and horsemen assembled at Glen Dale and exactly at a quarter to three, the black, lace-trimmed coffin, was borne from the house, a long procession slowly following, bareheaded to the hearse, which had reached a distance fully a quarter of a mile from the house ere the last member of the numerous cavalcade has started on the way. High Street being at length gained, the remains were carried into the Episcopalian Church, where the expressive service of the English Church was impressively read by the Rev. A. Toomath of Kilmore, who was afterward assisted by the Rev. E. G. Higgin.

At the close of the first part of the service and prior to leaving for the cemetery, where the concluding part was read, the congregation filling the edifice, tried to give expression to their pent up feeling in the hymn which commences with the words “A few more years shall roll” – a hymn deriving peculiar power from the fact that it had been the favourite one of the deceased, who had frequently asked to have it sung and played to her between her paroxysms of anguish.

Probably a hundred people gathered round the grave, and the scene was an affecting one. Among those assembled we noticed the whole of the family of the deceased, also Dr Skinner, the late lady’s medical attendant, and who, throughout the illness, has shown the most unremitting concern and attention. Many present had come long distances to pay a mark of respect to one who had for 40 years been their neighbor.

The grave was bricked at the foundation, and the coffin bore the simple inscription — ”Agnes Zwar, born 1836, died 1891, aged 55 years.”

On it were placed a number of floral wreaths, tender memorials of an unfailing regard; and as we looked at them one wondered which was the more impressive—the grand musical cadences of the liturgy; or these. The flowers so fragile and beautiful seemed voices from another world, speaking mutely as they did of an infinite Thought, and an infinitely tender care. And involuntarily our fancy sped to Him who is “too wise to err, too good to be unkind,” – and to that “better land” – that land so far away, and yet so near—to which after all, death is but the portal, and all life’s sorrow but a preparation: for - “We see but dimly through the mists and vapours; 
Amis these earthly damps,
 What seem to us but sad, funerial tapers, 
May be heaven’s distant lamps.”

Original publication

Citation details

'Zwar, Agnes (1836–1891)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Zimmer, Agnes



6 June, 1891 (aged ~ 55)
Broadford, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (not specified)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.