Appendices to "The WEDEMEYERs of Eastern Australia."
… section 3. Hotel fire & Harry WEDEMEYER.
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The appendices are as follows:
… note that this page contains section 3 (Hotel Fire and also Harry WEDEMEYER), and that there is a separate page for each section of the appendix.
- Appendices Section 1: Your family is my family (?) …early origins of WEDEMEYER families
- Appendices Section 2: Court Cases
- Appendices Section 2: Rates
- Appendices Section 3: Inquiry into Hotel Fire, 1885
- Appendices Section 3: JWH (Harry) WEDEMEYER’s Documents
- Appendices Section 4: DAVIS documents
- Appendices Section 5: WEDEMEYER name
- Appendices Section 5: Descendancy Report of German born WEDEMEYERs
Source: Qld State Archives. Inquest. Mount Perry fire; George WEDEMEYER’s ‘Southern Cross’ hotel, 1885, file# 252, location JUS/N119.
Tenningering Police Court, Mount Perry, Tuesday, April 28th A.D 1885.
Before the Police Magistrate.
Inquiry, touching the cause of the burning down of Wedemeyer’s Southern Cross Hotel, at Drummers Creek.
Senior Constable Thomas Bergin appears for Inquiry.
George Henry Louis Wedemeyer on oath states, I am a licensed publican living at Drummer’s Creek, about two miles and a half from Mount Perry. The name of my licensed house there was the Southern Cross Hotel. I received a telegram about five o’clock by the mail from Walla, to come home at once, your house burned to the ground, family all right. The signature to said telegram purported to be of Joseph Allen. I was going to start home on said evening but could not get a horse, as it was too late in the evening. It was Sunday evening last, I received said telegram. I started from my Selection next morning- yesterday morning- to return home. I returned home on yesterday between one and two o’clock in the afternoon. I found my house, on my return, burned to the ground, that is the said hotel. There was none of said house left standing. It was built of wood hardwood studdings in all the building, pine weather-boards in the main building, and hard-wood weather boards in two wings. The flooring boards in main building were pine, and in the wings mentioned they were hardwood. There was a brick-lined fireplace in one of the wings, what we called the parlor. There was a detached kitchen at the back of said house, about six or seven feet from it. There was a brick fire-place and brick floor in said kitchen. There was a wooden covered way between the house and kitchen. There were a store room and stable at back but they were not burnt down. My said house was insured in the Victorian Life Insurance Company, Maryborough, Mr Corser Agent, for four hundred pounds. The said insurance was in force at the time my said house was burnt down. I went to my Selection on last Friday week, and I have been away at my Selection since then, until yesterday. I did not know anything about how the said fire originated. I put it the house into the hands of an auctioneer, Mr Stone, to sell it at auction on the twenty-sixth or on the thirtieth day of May next. I was to attend at the Auction, and if it, the said house, did not bring a certain figure, I intended to "buy it in". I had furniture in said house. It was furnished just as it was always. I estimate the value of my furniture at one hundred and fifty pounds, (£150). The said furniture was not insured. I lost five pounds in silver and notes in said fire. The wearing apparel of my wife and family of five, was all burned in said fire except a few articles in her own clothes box which were saved. Trade was very dull. I estimate that I left liquor in my said house of the value of between fifteen and eighteen pounds, when I left my house for my selection as given in my evidence. The said house was all that was insured. There was a small cellar underneath the bar. I principally kept bottled ale or porter or both in said cellar. I did not keep any other liquors in it. I believe there was about a quart- a gin bottle full- of kerosene in my said house when I left home, as described. I kept it generally under the bar. There was a passage from bar to my wife’s bedroom. It was ten (10) feet from said brick fire place in house, to bar. The room was only 10 feet wide. To my knowledge there was only one box of matches in my said house when I left.
Taken and sworn, before me,
at Mount Perry, this twenty-eighth
day of April AD 1885.
B Armstrong P. M
Elizabeth Wedemeyer on oath states, I am the wife of the previous witness. I remember my husband leaving home for his selection near Walla on last Friday week. We were living in my husband’s licensed house the Southern Cross hotel at said time. I remained living in said house after my husband left home. I had my three daughters living with me at the time. The eldest of said daughters will be fifteen years of age in next June. The age of the second will be thirteen years in next June. The third was seven years the twenty-ninth day of March last. I remember that our said house caught fire on Thursday night last at about, so well as I know, between twelve and one o’clock. My three said children went to bed about half past nine o’clock on said night, and I went to bed at the ten o’clock of said night. I slept in the room behind the bar. My girls slept in the room along-side my room- that is the two eldest. I went to bed with the youngest girl, and fell asleep in about a quarter of an hour. I woke up when I fancied I felt something coming on my face. I turned over and I felt like smoke coming to my face. I leaned up on my elbow and had a look and I saw a great light in the house. I sat up in bed then, and called to my eldest daughter, I said "Minnie the house is on fire", about three times. Minnie my eldest daughter came out of her room into mine. I told her to come and take her sister out of my bed. She was bringing her sister into her own bed, and I said to her, "either throw her out of the window, or of the door, from the fire." By that time the said girl had got out the back door. I then said to my second eldest daughter, "go across for Martin." I fancied then the whole house was on fire. The fire was coming from about the middle or farthest end of the dining room so far as I could see. When I went to bed I shut up the doors and put out all the lights, and then put out my own light about five minutes after I was in bed. There had been no fire in the fire place in house since last winter, and there was no fire in it on said night or day of said night. Everything seemed to me to be the same as usual when I went to bed. Generally my eldest daughter shut up the kitchen door, after we had our tea there, in the evening. We generally when by ourselves, as on this occasion, had our tea about six o’clock in the evening. The fire did not seem to me to come from the kitchen at all, but from the lower end of it the dining room towards the middle. My youngest daughter escaped out through the back door that leads to the passage to the kitchen. My eldest daughter, when her sister went for Martin, helped me out with the box of under and other clothing. I saved a few plates and cups and saucers in addition, that was all I saved out of the house. We had something about fifteen or eighteen pounds worth of liquor in house altogether. That was all destroyed. I had about five pounds in money in the house. I had it in the little safe in my bedroom. I did not save that. I never thought of it. All I thought of was the children and their clothes. I got out of bed after I called to my eldest daughter. I got hold of a petticoat and something my eldest daughter put around my neck and these with my night dress were all I had on. I "holloed out" shouted, as loud as I could, you could hear me a mile off. Mrs Stephenson heard me and came on that account and because she saw the glare of the fire, and she lives about a mile away. I would not be positive as to whether Mrs Stephenson came to where I was because she heard me shouting, or because she saw the fire or the glare of it. Martin Mattison or Madsen came to the fire first. He got my box away out from the fire. Then the neighbours came, but I could not say who came next. My husband had made application for leave of absence from his said house. James Peters was at my place on the said Thursday evening, about nine o’clock and went away about a quarter to ten o’clock. He did no come in the house, was only on verandah. There was no one in said house at all on said night only myself and my family. I had not "lit up" the coffee room the said night, only the kerosene hanging lamp in it, was always full of oil. The said room was not sealed. I had two lamps only, lighted on said night, one in the dining-room and one in the bar. I put them out before I went to bed. The first room I saw the fire in was the lower end of the dining room. We all got out the back door leading to kitchen. The two eldest daughters to get out of their room had to come through mine. The kitchen was the last to burn down. I don’t think there was a very strong wind on said night. The covering to the kitchen I do not think was on fire when I got out. Madsen was the first man who came to the fire. The table in yard was not in house at time, it was there for the last two months. I don’t know whether the house was built on sleepers or piles.
Taken and sworn before me,
at Mount Perry, this twenty-eighth
day of April AD 1885.
B. Armstrong P.M
Tenningering Police Court, Mount Perry, Tuesday, May 5th AD 1885.
Before the Police Magistrate.
Inquiry, touching the cause of fire, which burned down Wedemeyers Hotel on night of 23rd April last.
Adjourned from 2nd instant.
Senr Const Thomas Bergin appears for Inquiry.
Elizabeth Wedemeyer on oath states, I am the wife of George Henry Louis Wedemeyer. I remember Thursday week last. I do not remember day of month of said day. I remember the day of the night on which the fire occurred which burnt down my husband’s home, the Southern Cross Hotel. I washed the family clothes on the Wednesday previous to the fire. I had a fire in the yard for the boiler. The fire was about seven or eight yards from the back of the house, towards the stable. It would be just about the middle of the house, close to the back of the kitchen, and about four yards from the latter. I had boiler upon an iron stand resting on bricks. There were no logs, the wood was pretty small. I put said fire out myself on the Wednesday.
Taken and sworn before me,
at Mount Perry, this fifth day of
May AD 1885.
B. Armstrong P.M
Minnie Wedemeyer on oath states, I am the daughter of Mr & Mrs Wedemeyer here present. I remember Thursday night last. I was in my father’s house, the Southern Cross Hotel, on said night.
I went to bed half an hour before my mother. I know it was about half an hour before because I was awake. I went to sleep about a quarter of an hour, I think, after I heard my mother go to bed. My mother put out her own light before I fell asleep. I slept until my mother woke me about the fire. I heard mother say "the house is on fire". I went then out of my room into mother’s room for my little sister. I took her out of the bed. Then I was going to take my little sister into my own room, and mother told me to put her out the back door. I was then wide awake, but was not when I got up first. When I had put my little sister out of said door, I looked round and could see that the house was on fire. I noticed the fire first in that part of dining room farthest from the bar. The fire was high up to the shingles. The fire was in the dining room coming towards our bed. I saw the lamp hanging in the dining room, the fire was not near that yet. There had been no fire in the house during said day. I was in the detached kitchen during the evening of said day. I was the last in the kitchen on said day. When I left the kitchen there was no fire in the fire place, it was out. I do not know how the fire began. When we went outside we screamed loudly as we could for help, I and my mother. Only James Petersen was at our hotel on said night. He was not in the house, he was on the verandah. The only kerosine we had was in the lamps. When I went in for my sister my mother was in the room. My mother got out of bed then. I put out my sister and then we all went out. We went, mother and I, to pull out the box after this. We fetched only a few cups and saucers out, besides. We brought the box out before we made any alarm of fire. There was smoke in mother’s room when I first went in for my sister. I could see that mother had put out her light before I went to sleep, because there was no door between our room and hers, only a passage. It was my sister went for Madsen, my mother told her to go. When I took my sister out I shot the bolt of said door back, it was fastened on the inside. I could hear my mother fastening all the doors as I lay awake in bed.
Taken and sworn before me,
at Mount Perry, this twenty
-eighth day of April AD 1885.
B. Armstrong P.M
Section 3: JWH (Harry) WEDEMEYER’s Documents
(Source: Qld State Archives.LAN/AG 195)
- Type and no. of Selection
- Homestead No. 1255
- Date of application
- 13 Dec 1883
- Name of Selector
- John William Henry WEDEMEYER
- Selection Size
- 160 acres
- Annual rent
- Certificate of performance of conditions
- 12 Oct 1889
- Residence by selector
- Since Mar 1884
- Railing , £58/16/-. 15a scrub land cleared & burnt off, £60, Slab house, bark roof, £5/-/-.
- Bailiff's 18 Oct 1889 - Used for grazing cattle and horses
- Date Deed of Grant
- 30 Oct 1889
- Its south east corner was 46 chains NNE from the junction of the Perry and Burnett Rivers.
Cravens Town Eidsvold
Feb 28th 1889
To The Minister of Lands
I, J.W.H. WEDEMEYER took up a homestead Selection at Walla number 1255 in 1883. At the same time my Father & Brother took up one each adjoining me. In 1885 my Father died, I worked four years on my land farming. I found it impossible to pay my rents & keep the family farming any longer, as we had bad seasons. In Nov 1887 I went to Eidsvold I have been home regularly since. It would be a great inconvenience to me and Mother & Brother for me to have to throw up my employment here, & go down to reside this last 24 months to get my Certificate as I would have to borrow money to pay expenses, as the expenses of Three Selections depends on me since Father died, and if so I would have to sacrifice the selection to pay up after I got it. Here my employment is, I have contracted with the Battery for the carting of the quartz. It is constant, & supplies my teams, if I can hold it, it will give me a start in life. If I have to loose it by having to go to my selection I will loose the chance & probably loose my Land with debt. Hoping you will consider my position that four years constant residence should prove sufficient. As I intend to live on the farm with my people when I get a few pounds to do so.
Cravens Town Eidsvold
PS Kindly reply soon.
(Letter was stamped "Acknowledged 11 Mar 1889")
Source: Qld State Archives. Selection File 1255 (Refs QSA LAN/AG 195). Comment: Note that this letter was successful. Harry received a certificate of performance of conditions and was allowed to keep his lease and purchase same for £20. Furthermore, Portion 1255 became a "fee simple" portion of JWH’s Estate when it was administered by the Curator of Intestacy.
About five o'clock this Saturday evening Mr. H. WEDEMEYER a much respected resident of Eidsvold was killed by his horse falling with him. From particulars given to us it appears, Mr. Wiedemeyer (sic) was yarding some horses at Spring Gully when one of the animals broke away and Wiedemeyer galloped after it. Upon reaching a dangerous gully opposite the residence of Mr. Noah Smith and near the Mount xxxxxxxx made treacherous by the recent heavy rains the horse fell and the unfortunate rider was precipitated with great violence upon his head. The horse fell heavily upon the rider and in an attempt to rise again fell upon him. In a third attempt the horse sprung to his feet but jumped heavily upon the unconscious man. A large number of persons were almost instantly at Wiedemeyers side and it was at once seen that he wasbeyond human aid. A messenger rode hastily for medical assistance which from a too well known cause he was unable to obtain - Mr. Chippindall of the Eidsvold Dispensary, proceeded to the scene of the accident and did what he could but the head was smashed by the violence of the fall upon the hard ground. A tough breath remained in the body for nearly an hour Wiedemeyer never opened his eyes or moved in any way after the fall. As soon as possible a vehicle was obtained and a start made for the hospital, but life was extinct before that institution was reached. Mr. Wiedemeyer, who was 26 years of age was, we believe, a native of the Lower Burnett. He came to Eidsvold about August 1887, being one of the first arrivals after the discovery of gold here. Early the following year he married a daughter of Mr. P. G. Cornwall of Gayndah. During his residence in this district he gained the respect and goodwill of all classes of the community. He was a careful and industrious man and had made a nice home for himself on his selection near the Stockman Battery, where he lived happy and comfortable with his wife and little ones, two of his brothers and a sister. Two other sisters of the deceased have situations in Eidsvold and the family of brothers and sisters were much respected. Two children are left one aged eighteen months and the other five months. The sad news was wired to Gayndah and Mr. and Mrs. Cornwall, it is expected, will at once leave for Eidsvold. It is not necessary for us to say that the terrible accident has xxxxxxxxxshock in Eidsvold xxxxxx
Source: Sad fatality. The Reporter and Eidsvold Miner. Eidsvold, Queensland: Henry J Marks, Jan 3, 1891.
The above detailed Eidsvold source was an undated newspaper clipping, kindly forwarded by Alice McArthur. The clipping did not include the name of the newspaper. Comparison with reporting of the same event in other newspapers suggested it was from a local Eidsvold newspaper, and the content also showed it was published within a week of Henry's death. The Sat, Jan 3, 1891 issue of the"Reporter" (published on Saturdays) matches these criteria. Unfortunately this issue has not survived in the State Library to verify these deductions. Compare the above local newspaper's treatment of this story with the more distant papers.
The Maryborough paper said:
Eidsvold. December 29.
Henry Wedemeyer, of a well-known Burnett family, aged 26, a married carrier of Eidsvold, and a selector on Walla, was thrown from his horse on Saturday evening and killed on the spot. he was buried on Sunday. The funeral procession was a quarter of a mile long, and a most distressing scene occurred at the grave.The weather is extremely hot and there was slight rain on Sunday night. More is threatening.
Source: Colonial Telegrams. Maryborough Chronicle, Dec 29, 1890:2.
The Bundaberg paper was even more brief:
Mr. H. Wiedemeyer (sic), a resident of Eidsvold, was killed last week by the falling of his horse.
Source: Wide Bay and Burnett News, Jan 3, 1891:3.
The Story Continues
- Section 4 Section 4 of a set of appendices for "The Wedemeyers of Eastern Australia".