Posted by: Jim Bell | February 28, 2011

James Halliday of Castle Douglas and Queensland

LONELY GRAVE (Says the The Courier-Mail of Brisbane, Queensland, 22 February 1936)

Revealed on Clearing of Prickly Pear

DALBY, Friday.

One hundred yards back from a large waterhole on the Moonie River, about 20 miles southwest of Tara, amid the remains of a big clump of prickly pear, Mr. J. A. H. Fraser, Crown Lands Commissioner, while on an official visit to the district, found a grave with a well-preserved tombstone, – on which were deeply and clearly engraved the words:  ‘Sacred to the memory of James Halliday, born at Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland; on October 26, 1840, Died at Tartha, Queensland, August 16, 1874.’- In the early days Old Tartha was a well-known station, but it was abandoned many years ago because of the prevalence of prickly pear. All the buildings have disappeared, but the attacks of cactoblastis in recent years have destroyed the pear and revealed the lonely grave again.

Note: The closest I can get to this man’s identity (which is probably correct)  is a James Halliday, baptised October 14th 1840 in Twynholm Parish. His parents were Alexander and Margaret (Carson) Halliday who resided at The Cleugh. The 1851 census Alexander Halliday, an agricultural labourer, was still at The Cleugh along with his wife and three children, including James who is 10 years old. Working at nearby Barlochan Farm is an Alexander Halliday, aged 16. Gravestone 103 at Twynholm churchyard commemorates the family. The youngest Alexander went to Yonkers, New York, and his family form the subject of an article on the main Kirkcudbright County Website. I wonder if they knew the fate of James?


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