William Mathew (Matthew)

(Photos: Rosewood Scrub Historical Society)

Occupation: Hand Loom Weaver (1851); Railway Labourer (1861); Ganger (1866); Farmer/Gardener
Born:  William MATHIE
Birth: 13 December, 1834  Colessie, Fifeshire, Scotland
Baptised: 21 December, 1834  Kings Kettle, Fifeshire, Scotland
Residence: 1851  Pilmuir, Markinch, Fife, Scotland
Immigration: 1864 or 1865
Land Purchase: 19 July, 1868 – 80 acres agricultural, Rosewood (accepted subject to amended boundaries, it being probable that a road would be required) – £7 12s
Death: 8 March, 1890 at his residence, Rosewood, Queensland
Cause of Death: Dysentry
Father: John MATHIE (Ploughman)
Mother: Mary WILSON

Spouses: Ann WISHART
Occupation: Flax Spinner (1861)
Birth: about 1838  Wemyss, Fife, Scotland
Residence: 1851  Haugmill Spinning Mill & Bleachfield, Markinch, Fife, Scotland
Residence: 1861  Balcurvie House , Markinch, Fife, Scotland
Death: 17 December, 1921  Prince Street, Thompson Estate, Brisbane, Queensland
Burial: 19 December, 1921  South Brisbane Cemetery
Father: James WISHART (Sailor)
Mother: Margaret LAING
Marriage: 5 January, 1863  Markinch, Fife, Scotland
(Minister: William Bain  Witnesses: James Grieve & Christian Mathew)

Margaret (1863-1936) = Peter Roberts GRIFFITHS
Mary Wilson (1865-1921) = Archibald MILLER
John (1867-1885)
James (1869-1953) = Agnes Kilgour RAMSAY
Anna (1870-1946) = Robert William MARTIN
Isabella (1872-1947) = Charles Joseph MCGRATH
William (1874-1960) = Rosina WEBBER
Olivia (1875-1885)
Christina (1877-1889)
Eliza (1879-1942) = Joseph Sutherland ENEVER
Helen Emma (1881-1964) = William Henry Christopher LAIRD

Coming from the oceanic climate of Fife, Scotland where the average summer temperature is 19 degrees, to the tropical and sub tropical humidity of the Queensland climate would have been challenging for William and Ann Mathew. Even though William laboured for the railway before immigrating, it would have been a very different experience working out on the lines and clearing his land in our punishing summer sun.

In 1868, William selected 80 acres of agricultural land at Rosewood Gate and settled on what is now the eastern side of John Street. James Foote M. L. A. from Ipswich had acquired almost the same acreage on the western side in 1867. Around 1873 they each gave half a chain of land along the boundary of their properties for the formation of a road for public use. This was to become the main street, John Street.

He was one of the members of the founding committee (1870) charged with making arrangements for establishing a primary school at Rosewood Gate. He donated the land for the Congregational church which opened in May, 1875.

Samuel Waight, another pioneer settler, selected his land in 1869 but he didn’t came to town until 1874. At the Jubilee Show in 1927 he recalled that when he arrived William Mathew kept the gatehouse which stood where the old court house now stands. 

In 1878 William Mathew was appointed to the committee of the Rosewood Gate Mixed Primary school along with Mark Bensley, John Farrell, Henry McGeary and James Moran. The committee was responsible for organising sports days and other activities for the school.

Besides working for the railway, William grew several acres of corn but his real interest was in his market garden and experimenting with growing fruit trees. He was a successful exhibitor at the local annual shows with produce from his garden. He won prizes for his pumpkins, carrots, turnips, peas, beans, potatoes, cabbages, sweet tubers etc. In 1883 he won 1st prize in dairy section for his lard. On a few occasions he had a booth at the Rosewood Races where he sold fruit, pastry, tea and other light refreshments.

He was on hand to help when some railway wagons derailed.
The goods train that left Ipswich about 2 p.m. on Monday met with an accident that will prove (says the Queensland Times) a heavy loss to the Railway Department. The train stopped at the Ten-mile Siding, between Rosewood and Walloon, in order to shunt two empty waggons into the siding. The method employed at this place is to detach the waggons while the train is in motion, but by some error the points closed and the waggons could not enter the siding. Those waggons then went back, and, striking the portion of the train that was standing on the line, the whole started down the incline towards Doyle’s, apparently without injury; but the train had not gone above a mile on its journey toToowoomba when two waggons came off the line, doing considerable damage to the permanent way—the waggons themselves suffering severely. One of them had to be tumbled off the line down the embankment, and the other was with difficulty shunted into Moore’s siding, near Rosewood Gate. Mr. Mathew and his men were promptly on the spot to render whatever assistance might be required, and by 7 p.m. the line was cleared and traffic resumed; and to the credit of the Acting Traffic Manager (now, alas ! no more), the down express was very little behind time on arriving at Ipswich. (1)

By 1878 some of William’s land had been cut up into small allotments and sold. In 1886 he decided to sell the reminder, 78 building and business blocks. See the Ad (2)

The years from 1885 to 1889 were filled with great sadness for William and Ann’s family. They lost three of their children to colonial fever (Typhoid), their eldest son John and two daughters Olivia and Christina. William must have found it hard to reconcile the loss of his children and watch the effect it must have had on Ann. A prohibition order was issued against him.

I have to announce the death, on Saturday evening last of Mr. Wm. Matthew, a very old resident in the Rosewood district, and one of the early pioneers of the township. His demise was not quite unexpected, for he has been ailing for some considerable time. For many years he took a most active part in local affairs, and, until recently, was most energetic is assisting movements promoted for the advancement of the general welfare of the township.
We have to mourn the loss of one
We did our best to save;
Beloved on earth, regretted, gone;
Remembered in the grave. (3)

In November, 1891 Ann sold their home.  See the Ad.(4)

The Friends of Messrs. and Mesdames JAMES and WILLIAM MATTHEW, R. W. MARTIN, C. McGRATH, J. ENEVER, W. H. C. LAIRD, Mrs. M. GRIFFITH, and Mr. A. MILLER, are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of their deceased mother and mother-in-law, Mrs. Ann Matthew, to move from the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. A. Miller, Prince-street, Thompson Estate, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON, at 2 o’clock, to the South Brisbane Cemetery. CANNON AND CRIPPS, Undertakers. (5)

Researched & compiled by Jane Schy

(1) Queenslander 1 November, 1879
(2) Q.T. 2 October, 1886
(3) Q.T. 18 March, 1890
(4) Q.T. 17 November, 1891
(5) Daily Mail 19 December, 1921


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