Friday 16 July 2010

Edmonton waterways off Blackfellows Creek named Kerns, Ainscow, Morris, Curlewis and Katchewan

IT''S A CREEK, NOT A PITT Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt and for Cairns City Councillor Fran Lindsay, welcome the naming of Kearns Creek at Edmonton with family members Eric Kearns and Elaine Diprose.

Five previously unnamed creeks at Edmonton have been officially named in time for the centenary celebrations for Edmonton’s iconic Grafton Hotel.

The tributary creeks off Blackfellows Creek have been gazetted by the state government, and been been named Kerns, Ainscow, Morris, Curlewis and Katchewan after local identities who lived in the area.
  • Kearns Creek named after James Kearns who settled at Wrights Creek in 1881 and made a living cutting red cedar.
  • Curlewis Creek named after the cane siding which was used by the Curlewis brothers.
  • Morris Creek named after Ada Morris who was the first female school teacher in the area.
  • Katchewan Creek named after Pompo Katchewan, an aboriginal child who was brought up by the Swallow family at Hambledon, and later became the assistant of James Gribble who founded the Yarrabah Mission.
  • Ainscow Creek named after Ernest Ainscow who lived with his sisters and parents where the Grafton Hotel is now situated. In 1915 at the age of 16, Ernest enlisted in the army but lost his life at the battle of Gallipoli like so many young Australians.
This weekend Edmonton will honour one of its oldest families at a gala ‘Back to Edmonton’ weekend, that will coincide with the MacLeod Family Reunion, 100 years after the family first opened the Grafton Hotel.

Organiser and former Cairns City Councillor Fran Lindsay, said the MacLeod Family came to Edmonton from the mining towns of the hinterland in 1908, to start a fresh life following the tragic loss of 17 year old Norman in a logging accident after having earlier lost first-borns Delia and John to diphtheria and Edward at birth.

“John and Sarah operated a general store for a year in the town which was then called Hambledon Junction, before commissioning Mr Sinclair Miller to construct the Grafton Hotel on the adjoining land," Fran Lindsay says. “The construction, by a team of 13 carpenters, is reported to have lasted a mere three weeks."

All five MacLeod daughters were married in Edmonton, and all but Rita lived on in the town. The family branches extended into the Collinson, Abel, Donnelly, Devitt and Spencer families, all of whom were to figure prominently in the town social life for much of the past century. John was President of the Hambledon State School Committee in 1915. His grandsons, Keith and Eric MacLeod, who both attended the School in the early 1920s were killed in action in World War Two.

Their younger brother Angus who turns 90 this year, served with Keith at Tobruk and hopes to attend the reunion. Gertie, Daida and Rita all married World War One servicemen MacLeod family member, retired engineer Rob Spencer, who was educated locally at St Therese’s and
St Augustine’s is coordinating the reunion from his home base in Sydney.

Mr Spencer said for all of us who moved on to other parts of the country, Edmonton will always be our home town to come back to.

“We anticipate that many family members will be coming home from along the eastern Australian seaboard, with strong contingents from Brisbane, Sydney, inland Australia and Canberra," Mr Spencer says.

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