Grandma's Families, Chapter 3.

The "Grandma's Families" section of this site is divided so far into 3 chapters and 0 sets of appendices since this is a work in progress. Please read in sequence by following the links at the bottom of each page or use the "Quick Nav" at top right. If you wish to select individual chapters, please click on the top left link to the Sitemap page. Note that it is intended that the chapters develop the story of Grandma EWART's families and appendices will contain supporting data. The section is integrated with the Photo Gallery: “Grandma Annie EWART (née COLQUHOUN) and her families… COLQUHOUN, HUTCHISON and EWART.” Note the styles: links to individual images: …#55 .See the index to all these images here. Note these image links are clarified by the separate addition of hyperlinked thumbnails. Citation of sources is shown as …5).

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This chapter describes Annie COLQUHOUN's married life with William John EWART and the history of the EWART family from Caerlaverock, Dumfries, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. Remember… click on the thumbnails for the full image.

Early History

Images from L: Caerlaverock Parish Church…#55; View of Glencaple Village…#56; 1856 OS Map of Glencaple…#57; 1892 Nith Hotel…#58; Thomson Map of Uppercleugh…#59. Click on these thumbnails for full images with text.
Image of Colquhoun family. Image of Colquhoun family. Image of Colquhoun family. Image of 1892 Nith Hotel. Image of Thomson’s 1828 map of Uppercleugh: Permission of  National Library of Scotland.

Our earliest records of the EWART Family are in Caerlaverock Parish, Scotland. See present-day views of Caerlaverock here…#55,…#56.
A case was heard in the Sheriff Court of Dumfriesshire at Glencaple on June 13, 1863, relating to the paternity of a child named Matthew Ewart.
The decree was:

In an action relating to the paternity of a child named Matthew Ewart born August 22, 1858 at the instance of Mary Boyd, Bankend, Carlaverock (sic) against William Ewart servant at Uppercleugh Applegarth the Sheriff Court of Dumfriesshire on the 27th day of May 1862 found that the said child was the illegitimate child of the parties aforesaid. …1)

Our search for William EWART (servant) was unsuccessful in the Census records, but we found Uppercleugh Applegarth…#59 where he lived in 1862.…2), …4).

Glencaple Inn’s 1851 Census tells us that Matthew's mother Mary BOYD (b. 1834) worked as a House Maid for the Inn-keeper Susan THOMSON. The Glencaple Inn visitors (guests) included: Ship Carpenter 1; Ship Carpenter Apprentice 5; Mariner Apprentice 2.…3) Where was this Inn? Have a look at the map.…#57 At that time there were three Houses which could have been her Inn, which were large houses that had extra rooms for renting and thus provided food and lodging. The 1863 Ordnance Survey (OS) said there were TWO inns in Glencaple, meaning two out of the Nith Coffee House (later the Nith Hotel in the 1898 OS), Burnside House and Glencaple House.…2) The 1851 & 1861 the Censuses…3) rule out Glencaple House as an Inn since it was occupied by Helen MARTIN and family, the widow of a ship owner. Mary BOYD’s Inn was confirmed as Burnside House in the 1861 Census which lists Susanah THOMSON (widow of ship builder) with the address Glencaple Village, Burnside House: household members… son (ship carpenter); granddaughter; grandson (mariner); female servant (14 years old). Note the shipbuilding… the patent slip and the ship building yard on the map.…#57, …2)

     Postcard of Bankend with thatched cottages.…#60. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of postcard of Bankend with thatched cottages. Thanks to Jimmy Mccubbin from the “Old Dumfries” Facebook Group.

The 1861 Census continued Mary BOYD's story when she is living in the family home at Bankend, Caerlaverock with her father William BOYD, a tailor b. 1811, her 2 year old son Matthew, 2 siblings and 3 of William's grandchildren. Similarly Mary is with her father in the family home in the 1871 Census. Matthew is now aged 12, and there are 2 other grandchildren of William. By the 1881 Census, Matthew is no longer living with his mother and probably working as an agricultural labourer (servant) at Townhead Farm, Kirkmichael, Dumfriesshire. …3)

Mary remained living in her father's house at Bankend in 1881.…3) After her father's death on 22 Feb 1888,…5) in 1891 she was seamstress living in Ruthwell Rd by herself, then in 1901 with her sister in Bankend Village.…3) On 10 Jun 1921, Mary BOYD (1834-1921), single, daughter of William BOYD(1811-1888), Tailor and Jane ANDERSON (1810-1860), died at Bankend.…5)

Matthew EWART in Australia

On 22 Dec 1882 Matthew left Glasgow on the ship 'Otago', and arrived in Brisbane Australia on 5 Apr 1883 as a free passenger.…6) Seven months later he married 22 year old Maria McINTOSH on 30 Nov 1883 in the House of the officiating Minister, William McGregor, Bell Street, Kangaroo Point. At that time Matthew lived in Warren street Brisbane, and Maria lived in Bell street Kangaroo Point. Matthew's occupation was given as drayman, and Maria was a domestic servant.…8) Maria had arrived unaccompanied in Brisbane the previous year on 21 Aug 1882 on the ship 'Yeoman'.…7) Maria was born at Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and her parents were Peter McIntosh and Elizabeth Reid.…8), 16) No Scottish records could be found for her birth or parents.

They had three sons: William John b. 27 Dec 1884,…9) James Alfred b. 9 Oct 1888…11) and Charles b. 25 May 1890.…12) James Alfred died 10 Apr 1893,…13) subject to a coronial inquest.…14) Newspaper mentions were: “The following deaths occurred in the Brisbane Hospital from 26th March to 18th May inclusive:—James Alfred Ewart, aged 4½, admitted 5th April, died 10th April.”…54) and “Deaths. EWART.—On April 10, at O'Connelltown, James Alfred, the beloved son of Matthew and Marie Ewart, aged 4 years and 6 months, owing to the effects of a kick from a horse. Suffer little children to come unto Me.”…55)

Matthew's family lived at Kent St New Farm Brisbane in 1884 to abt 1885, then at Maud St O'Connell Town 1889 to abt 1890 when Matthew was listed as a storeman. They remained in O'Connell Town and moved to Rosemount St O'Connell Town abt 1898. Note that O;Connell Town is now known as Windsor. Rialto St Coorparoo became the family home from 1901 to abt 1922.…15) On 29 Apr 1905 his wife Maria died after a lengthy illness with cirrhosis of the liver, and was buried in Toowong Cemetery by Jarvis B. Johnson of the "Joyfull News Mission".…16) This Mission was associated with the Wesleyan Church.

On 2 Oct 1907 Matthew's son William John EWART married Annie Cochran COLQUHOUN at the Presbyterian Church, Mowbraytown East Brisbane, Qld. At that time Matthew was described as a labourer.…16) In 1908 the electoral roll only lists William John and Annie in the family home of Rialto St and no Matthew.…15) At that time Matthew had married Amy Jane BOWN (née EWELL) in Broken Hill in 1908.…18) Matthew then vanished off the electoral rolls.…15) Perhaps he became an itinerant miner? When his son William died in 1935 his father Matthew's occupation was described as miner.…20)

Images from L: Memorial to Charles EWART…#36; Charles commemorated…#37; Charles with brother…#43.
                Click on these thumbnails for full images with text.
Image of Colquhoun family. Image of Colquhoun family. Image of EWART brothers.

Matthew's other son Charles…#37,…#43 also lived at the Rialto St family home in 1912 to 1915 with the occupation of machinist …15), probably in the printing trade.…12) He was a prominent member of the Coorparoo Rugby League team,…#37,…26) with the nickname of "Sandy". Charles enlisted in the army on 25 Aug 1916 when he was aged 26. He served as a machine gunner in the 26th Battalion A.I. F, 17th Reinforcements, 7th Australian Machine Gun Company.…12) During the attack on Polygon Wood Belgium, he was killed by a shell about about 8 pm on 20 Sep 1917. Charles was on guard on top of a pill box in the gun position just below Westhoek Ridge.…12a) He was buried at Ypres (Ieper), Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium.…12) His Australian memorial plaque is here…#36.

Charles EWART's next of kin (NoK) Army correspondence directed to his father fills in the gaps of Matthew's locations. In 1920 he lived at Piper Street North, South Broken Hill NSW; 1922, 7 Adelphi Terrace Glenelg SA; 1924, 2 Cowra street, Mile End, Adelaide SA.…12) Then the Australian Directories pick him up: 1934-1936, 4 Jean St, Elgin / Kilkenny SA.…10) At last he registered to vote and the Electoral Rolls showed him: 1939-1941, 4 Jean st, Kilkenny, Port Adelaide, SA.…15)

On 12 Feb 1942 Matthew's wife died.

FUNERAL NOTICES EWART.—The friends of Mr. Matthew Ewart are respectfully informed that the funeral of his late wife Amy Jane will leave his residence, 4 Jean st. Kilkenny, on Friday, at 2.15 p.m.. for the Cheltenham Cemetery. P. T. ELLIOTT & SON. Funeral Directors, 95 Port rd. Hindmarsh. Phone L 4668.…21)

Matthew then moved in with a friend Mrs T.A. Trembath, 52 Russell Terrace, Kilkenny, became sick, went to a Salvation Army Eventide Home, Linden Park, Adelaide SA where he died on 10 Aug 1943 .…23), 24)

DEATHS. EWART.—On August 10, Matthew husband of the Amy J Ewart, late 52 Russell terrace, Kilkenny, aged 84 years.…25)
FUNERALS. EWART.—The friends of the late Mr Matthew Ewart are respectfully informed that his funeral will leave the residence of Mrs. T. A. Trembath, 52 Russell terrace, Kilkenny, on Wednesday, at 4 p.m., for the Cheltenham Cemetery.…24)

William John EWART.

     William's marriage…#38. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of Colquhoun family.

William at home…

William John EWART was the eldest son and was born on 27 Dec 1884, at New Farm Brisbane…9) On 2 Oct 1907 William married Annie Cochran COLQUHOUN at the Presbyterian Church, Mowbraytown East Brisbane, Qld.…17)…#38 The Mowbraytown Church opened in 1885 and was the centre for the Presbyterians in a wide area of Brisbane, including the COLQUHOUNs at Vulture St. See here.

1908 was an eventful year for William. The electoral roll lists William John and Annie in the family home of Rialto St from 1908 to 1922.…15) His first son William Colquhoun EWART was born on 15 Oct 1908.…27) He also started important employment with Isles, Love & Co., see below. William and Annie had three more children Dorothy Janet (Dorrie) on 28 Oct 1910 at Brisbane,…30) Marjorie Mary on 28 Feb 1915 at Coorparoo Brisbane…31) and Charles Colin on 30 Dec 1917 at Qld.…32) See thumbnails below.

William's children from L: Dorothy & William…#39; Dorothy, William & Marjorie…#40; Dorothy & Marjorie…#41; Charles & William…#42; Marjorie…#61. Click on these thumbnails for full images with text.
Image of Colquhoun family. Image of Dorothy, William & Marjorie. Image of Dorothy & Marjorie. Image of Charles & William. Image of Marjorie b. 1915.

William in Brisbane…

William joined the real estate auctioneering firm of Isles, Love & Co. in 1908 where he remained for 13 years.…28) He was in charge of Isles, Love, and Co.'s estate agency department in Brisbane at least by 1917.…29) This job must have laid the foundations of his wealth and importance. He represented his employer in government enquiries.

The Interstate Commission on Housing: Evidence of Land Agents. Sitting in Brisbane 8 Nov 1917.
The Interstate Commission (Mr. A. B. Piddinglon, K.C.) continued its sittings in Brisbane yesterday afternoon. W. J. Ewart, in charge of Isles, Love, and Co.'s estate agency department in Brisbane, said that generally speaking there had been no advance in rents in Brisbane since the outbreak of the war. The cost of building had gone up, but there had not been many houses erected lately. The absence of men at the war would not make any sensible difference, as the relatives of these men had to be housed just the same. Houses to let were very short at present, whilst the demand was fairly good. Witness's firm had never looked for increased rents in consequence of a shortage of houses to let — and where his firm were permanently representing clients they usually had discretion in regard to the rent to be charged. …29)
The Basis Wage Commission sat in Brisbane on 26 May 1920.
W. J. Ewart, representing Isles, Love, and Co, expressed the opinion that 15s. per week was the average ruling rent for a five-roomed dwelling in Brisbane.…39)

He was a leader in his many outside interests. “While in Brisbane Mr. Ewart was a keen dog and poultry breeder and was once president Of the Poultry Club of Queensland.”…28) In July 1914 William won 1st prize…#47 in the Canary Improvement Society's 21st Annual Show with his Norwich Plain Head canary.…33) The following year (1915) he was elected as a councillor to the Coorparoo Shire Council.…37) Not long after he became Chairman of the Council in 1920 and finally resigned on 28 May 1922.…34) On 21 May 1921, his name was placed as Chairman on a plaque in Langlands Park …#36 which commemorated the men of Coorparoo Shire who fell in World War One, including his brother Charles.…35),…36) He must have had a long-term interest in the Reserve Military Forces. In 1916 he was already a 2nd Lieutenant and he was then gazetted as a full Lieutenant (temporary) in the regular forces.…#43 At the end of WW1 he was re-transferred to the Reserve Forces, and reverted to 2nd Lieutenant on 16 Feb 1919.…38)

William in Brisbane: From L: William's promotion…#43; As a young man…#46; A hobby…#47.
           Click on these thumbnails for full images with text.
Image of Colquhoun family. Image of Colquhoun family. Image of 1892 Nith Hotel.

William’s Hotels…

William's expertise in the real estate area and also his ability to network in the wider community led him to a career in the hotel and hospitality industry. In the next month after he resigned as Chairman of Coorparoo Council, he bought the Club Hotel at Clifton… William had moved swiftly.

CLIFTON. Licensing Court. In the Licensing Court on Friday (5 May 1922), before Mr. R. B. Hetherington, P.M., Mrs. C. B. King has disposed of the lease, license, and goodwill of the Club Hotel to Mr. Ewart, of Coorparoo, Brisbane. Mr. Ewart will take possession at the end of the month.…40)
Mr. Ewart, of Brisbane, with Mrs. Ewart and family, arrived on Saturday and will take over the Club Hotel from Mrs. C. B. King. Mr. Ewart is well known in public life, being ex-chairman of the Coorparoo Shire Council.…41)

17 months later (Nov 1923) William had sold the Club Hotel. The following press report is significant in showing his impressive spread of activities during this short period.

Mr. W. J. Ewart has sold his business of the Club Hotel to Mr. Charles (Inglewood). Mr. Ewart, who was a resident for about two years, was a popular and progressive townsman, being prominently identified with the Show Society, School of Arts, and Chamber of Commerce. He was recently elected to the Ambulance committee. He was an all round sport, being president of the Football League, vice-president of the Rifle Club, and a member of the Jockey Club. The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Ewart regret their departure, and wish them every success and prosperity in their new home.…42)

His next hotel was the Tattersall's at Toowoomba, where the locals expected much from him.

Tattersall's Hotel Change. Mr. W. Stewart, who has conducted the popular Tattersall's Hotel, Margaret-street, Toowoomba, for many months past, has disposed of the license and goodwill. Mr. W. J. Ewart has purchased the business, and will take over from Saturday next, December 1 (1923). Mr. Ewart recently held the license of the Club Hotel, Clifton, for 17 months. In Sporting circles Mr. Ewart Is well-known, and while in Clifton was president of the Rugby League, as well as being a committee man of the Clifton Jockey Club. Prior to coming to Clifton, Mr. Ewart was connected with the well-known auctioneering firm of Messrs. Isles, Love and Co., Brisbane, for 13 years, and was chairman of the Coorparoo Shire Council for two and a half years, as well as occupying the seat of councillor of that shire for seven years. Mr. Ewart takes a great interest in all public institutions wherever he may be, and is an ardent advocate for progress of every description. …43)

A 1926 newspaper article with his photo…#48 showed that William had not let up in his pace.

A Popular Sport. Mr “Bill” Ewart, mine host of Tattersall’s Hotel and President for 1926 of the West Toowoomba Bowling Club, member of the Australasian Brass Band Championship Committee. “Bill” is also Patron of the Newtown Football Club and President of the Merthyr Football Club. (Unknown newspaper clipping).

     William at Tattersalls.…#48. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of William at Tattersalls

By Sep 1926 he had sold the Tattersall's and moved on to Byron Bay.…44) and the Great Northern Hotel.…#51 The Great Northern hotel was bought on 20 Oct 1926 by W.J and Annie C. Ewart, final payment 17 Oct 1929.…49) In Dec 1926 William put out the following publicity. Note the special features which we take for granted today!

The Great Northern hotel, Byron Bay, the noted guest house of the North Coast of New South Wales, is excellently conducted by Mr W J Ewart, late of Brisbane and Toowoomba This hotel is well lighted by electricity, a garage is available, and a septic tank system has been installed Surfing and good fishing are obtainable within very easy reach. Special attention is paid to the comfort of visitors.…45)

The Great Northern hotel business expanded in 1931 when the Licensing Court gave approval to serve liquor with meals…51)

The Great Northern was the ultimate hotel in those days. See the advertising article by Mr W. Garlick who owned the second Great Northern from 27 Mar 1909 to 18 Jan 1915.

Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay.
The Hotel Par Excellence. THIS palatial Hostelry, one of the features of this most picturesque seaside resort which is recognised as the Sanitorium of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, has recently changed ownership. Mr. W. Garlick, the present proprietor being well and favorably known to most Northern Rivers residents. The Hotel, an illustration of which appears with this notice, has just undergone a thorough overhaul, a by no means small matter when it is noted that there are over 80 rooms in the main building, 60 of them being bedrooms, the others composing drawing rooms, commercial rooms and lounge for gentlemen, billiard rooms, private drawing room for ladies, coffee room, bath rooms, with hot and cold plunge and shower. The whole furnishing of this ornate, modern residential establishment is elegant in design and restful and comforting in effect. The entire premises from the lookout from the top of the building, the delightful promenade balconies, with their magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean, right through to the kitchens, which are presided over by a French chef, are lighted by electric light. Added comforts are, a private bathing house, fronting an ideal beach for surfing, which, at this particular spot is a perfectly safe delight, there being no undercurrent: and also a high-class livery, with vehicles to suit young and old, saddle hacks, etc. Coach meets all trains, and a porter being in attendance. To those desiring a stay at an ideal resort and in an ideal hotel home, Byron Bay, the premier centre, should be chosen, and the home, the Great Northern Hotel. …57) …#50

A Heritage Inventory described it as:

It was an impressive looking building of two storeys with a central staircase leading to an upstairs balcony and third floor. The hotel staff included cooks, waitresses, resident and travelling musicians, housemaids, yardmen, barmaids and grooms. …59)

The original Great Northern Hotel opened in 1892 with Murdoch McLean the licensee.…58)

     Original 1st Great Northern Hotel.…#62. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of first Great Northern Hotel in 1890s

Murdoch McLean was there for 13 years. During that period the hotel burnt down in 1897, and he rebuilt it as 3 storey wooden structure…59) which remained until it burnt down again on 9 Jun 1936,…49) shortly after the Ewarts had sold the licence on 24 Oct 1934.…49) Our William held the licence for the second longest period after Murdoch McLEAN. If we list the licensees in order of their length of service from the initial building in 1892 to the fire in 1936, we could conclude that the hotel was problematic due to their rapid turn-over.
McLean, M. 13 years; Ewart W.J. & A.C. 8; Batey D.J. 5; Garlick W. 5; Burrows W.C. 3; McLean, M. 2; Greenwood J.T. 1.5; Player H.M. 1; Player H.M. 1; Beavon N.L. 1; Zander D. 1; Kealy H.P. 1; Bamford H. 0.5; Loch W.A. 0.1; Irwin E. 0.1. (Years approximated).

The Great Northern Hotels: 2nd hotel abt 1909. …#50; 2nd hotel in 1920's…#51; 2nd hotel interior…#64; 3rd hotel in Jun 1939…#52; 3rd hotel in 30 Mar 2022 floods…#63.   Click on these thumbnails for full images with text. See map at the bottom of this page.
Image of Great Northern Hotel Byron Bay about 1905. Image of old Great Northern Hotel in 1920s. Image of 2nd Great Northern Hotel interior. Image of new Great Northern Hotel. Image of Great Northern Hotel at 35-43 Jonson St Byron Bay in the big flood on 30 Mar 2022.

William was a local leader in an anti alcohol prohibition campaign:

The campaign against prohibition; is now (Jul 1928) in full swing in the Byron electorate. Arrangements are complete for an intense canvass of the whole area under the direction of officers of the League and the organising- secretary," Mr. R. Thorne, who recently arrived from Sydney. …46)

     William at demonstration with his dog.…#49. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of anti-prohibition campaign

The family was always interested in bulldogs. One of the Ewart pets came to bad end in Sept 1929!

Bulldog V Aeroplane. "Billy, " a well-known Byron Bay bulldog, evidently thought Providence had sent him an out-size in birds to worry when an aeroplane approached him on Byron Bay beach on Friday evening while making a landing. He immediately attacked it and came in contact with the propeller while it was still in action. A blade of the propeller was so badly split that a new propeller had to be ordered from Sydney, while "Billy" was so badly injured that he had to be destroyed. The 'plane, a Gipsy Moth, is owned and piloted by Captain Mathieson, who is accompanied by Captain Felton. "'Billy" was owned by Mr. W. J Ewart, of the "Great Northern" Hotel. The Boy Scouts of the Byron Bay Troop guard the machine during its enforced inactivity on the beach. …47)

William “later took over the Pier Hotel from Mr. Walter Sparre, of Brisbane, for his son” (William Colquhoun EWART).…48) The Pier Hotel freehold was bought in Dec 1929 by Mr and Mrs W.J. Ewart (licensees), then on 14 Jan 1930, Wm. C. Ewart was the licensee as the nominee for Mr and Mrs Ewart.…50)

            Pier Hotel.…#53. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of Pier Hotel.

On 12 Feb 1934 William won first prize, £25,000, in the fifth special Casket.He said he had “no special plans for a holiday at present, that could well be left until later.”…48) In the same year on 24 Oct 1934, he then sold the Great Northern Hotel to Hugh Bamford…49) and lived with his son William at the Pier Hotel.…52) See map at the bottom of this page.

William John EWART then died on 6 Apr 1935 and was buried on 8 Apr 1935.…20)

William John Ewart (50), of Byron Bay, died last night in a private hospital at Bangalow, where he was removed on Friday following a heart attack. During his residence of 8½ years at Byron Bay he took a prominent part in the activities of the various town organisations. He had been president of a Town Improvement Association, a vice-president of the Literary Institute, and president of the Seagulls Football Club for a number of years, apart from holding office on various committees which function for town progress. Last year, with his wife, Mr. Ewart shared the first prize of £25,000 in a certain consultation (Golden Casket). He was proprietor of the Great Northern Hotel at Byron Bay for eight years, and on disposing of that business last year went, to reside with his family at the Pier Hotel, which is conducted by Mr. W. C. Ewart. In the Masonic Order Mr. Ewart was P.M. of Lodge Cavanbah and First Principle of Byron Royal Arch Chapter. He was a P.G.M. of the Order of Druids in Brisbane, where he lived prior to conducting hotels respectively at Toowoomba and Clifton in Queensland. In Brisbane he was interested in local government and was at one time chairman of Coorparoo Shire Council. Sport claimed much of his attention. He exhibited keen interest in rugby league football, both in Queensland and at Byron Bay. He was a valued member of the Byron Bay Bowling Club and while a member of the Toowoomba club had the honour of being included in the representative Queensland team against a team of English bowlers. A widow, two sons and two daughters survive. The sons are William C. Ewart and Charles Ewart (Byron Bay), and the daughters, Misses Dorothy and Marjorie Ewart, who recently left Byron Bay on a world tour. The boat in which they are travelling to England is due at Port Said this week. The funeral will take place at Byron Bay to-morrow, the cortege leaving the Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. A service will be held in the church commencing at 10.45 a.m. Members of Lodge Cavanbah are asked to assemble at the Temple at 10.30 a.m. …52)

    Grave of William John EWART.…#35. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of grave of William John Ewart.


The Pier Hotel was sold by Annie C. Ewart on 14 Oct 1936 for £6,000 to Mrs F.E. Webb, with her nominee Keith Saunders (Licensee). Full payment was received by 24 May 1937.…50) See map at the bottom of this page.

           Pier Hotel Fire…#54. Click on this thumbnail for full image with text.
Image of Pier Hotel fire.

The Pier Hotel burnt down in 1949.“RAZED IN 45 MINUTES  One of Byron Bay's most spectacular fires occurred yesterday afternoon when the Pier Hotel was razed in 45 minutes. The building, of wood and fibro, burned and collapsed in sections. This photo…#54 was taken when the flames had consumed the interior of the upper floor. The garages and outhouses at the right were also destroyed.”…52)

The Pier Hotel, a two storey weatherboard and fibro building in Bay Street (on the corner of Bay and Fletcher Streets) , facing the beach, was destroyed by fire on 28 March 1949. The fire was attended by Lismore Fire Brigade but when they arrived the building had already been razed. As there was no town water supply at Byron Bay, the fire brigade fed 250 yards of hose to a swiftly-flowing stormwater channel as a source of supply. A temporary bar was duly erected in place of the former pub, and business was carried on until 1957 when the licence was removed one block northward (on the corner of Bay and Jonson Streets) to newly erected premises called the Pier Astor Hotel. The pub’s name was changed again in 1968—to the Surfside. Following a major remodelling, it became the Beach Hotel, which opened in 1991. …58)

The Pier, which gave its name to the hotel, did not last much longer than the hotel! The Pier was a jetty, built in 1888 and extending ¾ mile from Main Beach. The 1954 cyclone destroyed part of the jetty and most of the fishing fleet in the bay, leaving remnants of the jetty behind. In 1971, the remaining jetty was demolished using explosives.…62) In Dec 2020 most of Main Beach was eroded by heavy seas, exposing old piers of the jetty.…63)

Image of Robert Strong Map of the town of Byron Bay and suburban lands Parish of Byron, 1930.
Edition number: 4; parent collection: historical parish maps; sheet reference: 1. NSW Land Registry Services. See here
Key: (1) Old Pier Hotel on corner of Bay & Fletcher Sts. (2) Pier Hotel's new position on corner of Bay & Jonson Sts.
(3) Railway lines. Casino-Murwillumbah veering NW to the new 1929 jetty & M'bah, the other N to the old 1888 jetty.
(4) Old jetty over the Main Beach and the Pacific Ocean. (5) Great Northern Hotel on corner of Jonson & Byron Sts.

Annie EWART (née COLQUHOUN)'s story is continued by her granddaughter Lynette Ewart STRONG (née FOSTER):

Grandma (Annie EWART) lived with son-in-law Eric and her daughter Marjorie Foster for most of their married lives. Eric and Marjorie married in 1938 and lived in a flat at 8A George St Dover Heights Sydney. Annie lived next door with Charles EWART (her son). When Eric returned from WWII, I remember that Annie lived with them. Annie remained with the Fosters, moving to the various locations in NSW with them. Grandma was central to my childhood. My earliest memory was in the back room at Dover Heights when she read to me and taught me to read. She taught me how to knit, which is a lifelong hobby for me. When she went into "Town" (the city of Sydney) she would go to Darrel Lea and I couldn't wait for the Caramel/Walnut roll. Grandma was the source of pocket money for my brother and me. She always made my bed for me— her wisdom was that I would have a lifetime of making beds. I still say happy birthday to her on her birthday. She was always there for me. She always called me "Lynny". Her home was with us for most of the year and she went to Brisbane for the winter.
When the family was out one day, she took the washing out to the clothesline in the back yard. As a vigorous competitive woman, she raced the dog to the back door, still holding the clothes basket. Sadly she fell and broke her hip, lying on the floor until my mother returned home. Her hip proved a disability and she eventually went to a nursing home at Woodford Rd., Banksia, NSW. Vigorous to the end, she made her presence felt in her nursing home by emptying a jug of orange juice on her room mate!…60)

Annie impressed everyone by her vigour and intelligence. It is quite probable that she was the "power behind the throne" in the hotel management! She died on 15 Sep 1980 at the age of 95, from cardiovascular problems at St George's Hospital Kogarah, with a usual address of Woodford Rd., Banksia. She was cremated at Woronora Crematorium on 17 Sep 1980, and her ashes placed in Palm Court Panel P Niche 42.…61)

Sources… Chapter 3:
1)    Sheriff Court Paternity Decrees, 1792-1922. Reference Number: SC15/7/32 p. 279. See here.
2)    Ordnance Survey Name Books; Dumfriesshire OS Name Books, 1848-1858.
3)    Scotland Censuses.
4)    John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland, 1832. See here.
5)    Deaths in the Parish of Caerlaverock in the County of Dumfries. Copies of Registers for:
      Jane BOYD (née ANDERSON) 31 Oct 1860) Bankend, William BOYD 20 Feb 1888 Bankend,
      Mary BOYD (unmarried) 10 JUN 1921 Bankend.
6)    Immigration of Mat EWART on the ship 'Otago' 5 Apr 1883. Register of Immigrants: ‘Otago’, 1883.
      Register of passengers on immigrant ships arriving in Queensland. Queensland State Archives. Item ID: 18479. See here.
7)    Immigration of Maria McINTOSH on the ship 'Yeoman' 21 Aug 1882. Register of Immigrants: Yeoman, 1883.
      Register of passengers on immigrant ships arriving in Queensland. Queensland State Archives. Item ID: 18479. See here.
8)    Marriage of Matthew EWART & Maria McINTOSH. Reg# 1883/514. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
9)    Birth of William John EWART. Reg# 1885/B 033578. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
10)    Queensland and Victoria, Australian Directories, 1859-1947.
11)    Birth of James Alfred EWART. Reg# 1888/C/9785. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
12)    Military record of Charles EWART, serial# 6065. National Archives Australia. See here.
12a)   AWM & NAA 26th Bn Research by Gary Parsons. See here.
13)    Death of James Alfred EWART. Reg# 1893/B/25900. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
14)    Coronial Inquest file of James Alfred EWART: QSA reference number JUS/N212. Item 348811.
      Film number 89307. Circa 1 Jan 1893- circa 31 Dec 1893. Queensland State Archives. See here.
15)    Australian Electoral Rolls.
16)    Death of Maria McINTOSH. Reg# 1905/003002. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
17)    Marriage of William John EWART & Annie Cochran COLQUHOUN. Reg# 1907/5936. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
18)    Marriage of Matthew EWART & Amy Jane BOWN (née EWELL). Reg# 1908/10436. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
19)    Police Gazette South Australia.
20)    Death of William John EWART. Reg# 1935/9446. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
21)    Death of Amy Jane EWART. Reg# 1942/646/763 Norwood, South Australia. Registrar of BDM, SA.
22)    Funeral notice of Amy Jane EWART. Advertiser (Adelaide). 13 Feb 1942:14
23)    Death of Matthew EWART. Reg# 1943/667/4320 Norwood South Australia. Registrar of BDM, SA.
24)    Funeral notice of Matthew EWART. Advertiser (Adelaide), 11 Aug 1943:8
25)    Death notice of Matthew EWART. Advertiser (Adelaide), 11 Aug 1943:8
26)    Photograph in the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to the Queenslander. 17 Nov 1917 : 28
27)    Birth of William Colquhoun EWART. Reg# 1908/B/18427. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
28)    Native of Brisbane Winner of Big Casket. Telegraph; 13 Feb 1934: 13.
29)    Interstate Commission: Evidence of Land Agents. Telegraph; 9 Nov 1917: 4.
30)    Birth of Dorothy Janet (Dorrie) Ewart. Reg# 1910/B/24076. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
31)    Birth of Marjorie Mary Ewart. Reg# 1915/B/39482. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
32)    Birth of Charles Colin Ewart. Reg# Reg# 1918/B/50814. Registrar of BDM, Qld.
33)    Canary Improvement Society’s 21st Annual Show. Brisbane Courier; 18 Jul 1914: 15
34)    Resigned as Chairman of Coorparoo Shire Council. Daily Standard; 29 May 1922: 10
35)    Memorial Gates, Langlands Park, Coorparoo. Telegraph; 4 June 1921: 11.
36)    Monument Australia: Memorial Gates, Langlands Park, Coorparoo. See here.
37)    The newly elected councillor, Mr. W. Ewart, was formally welcomed. Daily Standard; 13 Apr 1915: 8.
38)    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 25 May 1916 (No.64), page 1226;
      and also 13 Mar 1919 (No.34), page 413.
39)    Basic Wage Commission sat in Brisbane. Morning Bulletin; 27 May 1920: 8.
40)    Clifton. Licensing Court. Brisbane Courier; 9 May 1922: 4.
41)    Mr. Ewart, of Brisbane, with Mrs. Ewart and family… will take over the Club Hotel.
      Warwick Daily News; 1 Jun 1922: 3.
42)    Mr. W. J. Ewart has sold his business of the Club Hotel. Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling
      Downs Gazette;
5 Nov 1923: 3.
43)    Tattersall's Hotel Change. Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs Gazette; 26 Nov 1923: 4.
44)    Presentation to Mr Will Ewart. Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs Gazette; 8 Dec 1926: 24.
45)    The Great Northern hotel, Byron Bay. Brisbane Courier; 7 Sept 1926: 4.
46)    Anti-prohibition campaign. Tweed Daily; 9 Jul 1928: 2.
47)    Bulldog V Aeroplane. Tweed Daily; 23 Sept 1929: 2.
48)    First prize, £25,000, in the fifth special Casket. Courier-Mail; 13 Feb 1934: 11.
49)    Byron Bay - Great Northern Hotel. Tooth & Co Yellow Cards, in the collection of the
      Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University. See here.
50)    Byron Bay - Surfside Hotel/Motel (ex Pier Hotel). Tooth & Co Yellow Cards, in the collection of the
      Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University. See here.
51)    Licensing Court Renewals of publicans’ licences. Tweed Daily; 26 May 1931; 4.
52)    William John Ewart (50), of Byron Bay, died. Northern Star; 8 Apr 1935: 7.
53)    Razed in 45 minutes. Northern Star; 29 Mar 1949: 4.
54)    Current news. Queenslander. 27 May 1893: 1001.
55)    Deaths. Ewart. Telegraph. 14 Apr 1893: 4.
56)   A Heritage Study: Brisbane places of worship pre 1940; Volume 1 Heritage:133-137 See here.
57)   Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay. Queensland Country Life; 1 Oct 1909: 18. See here.
58)   Brett J Stubbs. Byron Shire community based heritage study– Volume 2:
    Byron Shire thematic history.
Byron Shire Council; Nov 2006: 73-74.
59)   Donald Ellsmore. Byron Shire community based heritage study– Volume 3: Listing Proposals.
    Byron Shire Council; Nov 2006: 100-103.
60)   Death of Annie Cochrane EWART. Reg# 1980/21823. Registrar of BDM, NSW.
61)   Pers. com. Lynette Strong.
62)   PHOTOS: Take a look back at Byron's whaling jetty. Northern Star; 24 Oct 2017.
63)    Stuart Khan @stukhan. Tweet. A Byron Bay lifesaver (my dad!) says the beach has dropped about 2 metres.
     “Those are old wooden piers. They were last exposed about 30 years ago and the tops were cut off.
     Thinking that we would never see them again”. Complete with photos. 14 Dec 2020. See here.
      Acknowledgements… Ch.3 :
I am grateful for correspondence and conversations with my other relatives Judith Ewart and Rosemary Dermody and also with the Australian War Memorial. Kind permission was given to use photos by the Australian War Memorial, the Noel Butlin Archives Centre of the Australian National University, Judith & William Ewart, and Kent Watson of Monument Australia. Then there are the kind people from Scotland: Jimmy Mccubbin from the “Old Dumfries” Facebook, the National Library of Scotland, Lynsey of the Nith Hotel and Mrs Houliston both of Glencaple, and Chris Upson James Yardley both of Wikimedia Commons. Susan Sulcs from the Byron Shire Council was very kind in taking a number of photos of William Ewart's grave. Byron Bay Historical Society and the E. J. Wright Collection in the Byron Bay Local Studies section provided an important photo in the Great Northern Hotel's history. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University kindly gave permission to use later photos of the Great Northern as well as the Pier Hotel. Finally, to my wife for her patience with my research and the treasure trove of family documents and photos bequeathed to her… her middle name is EWART!

The Story Continues