Tuesday, 10 January 2017



May I introduce you to my guest blogger for today, 
Joan Birtles.

 I first came into contact with my friend, Joan, many years ago on RootsWeb lists. We have a shared interest in Irish genealogy and genealogy in general. Joan has been a very enthusiastic and thorough researcher and a very helpful and dedicated transcriber. 

 Joan was looking through one of my sites, 
IRISH GRAVES - they who sleep in foreign graves
and came across the post re those buried in Dunwich Cemetery, Queensland. 
This prompted her to tell me the story about her ancestor.. 
I'll let her tell you in her own words...

A Line of Fishermen from Norwegian Andrew Thompson.

Andrew was born Tønnes Andreas Tøbiassen 27 Oct 1824 at Egvåg, Lista, Norway to Tobias Andersen Drøger and Karen Aslaksdatter.

It is not known when he left Norway but he spent most of his early life as an Able Seaman on ships sailing around the world where I found he was also working on some ships with his Norwegian friend Nils Larsen [Peter Lawson, father of Henry Lawson, the Poet].   He arrived in Gladstone, Qld on the ship “Persia” in August 1861 and in July 1862 he married Margaret Bridget Routledge who was 16 years of age, at St John’s Church, Brisbane.

Andrew and Margaret lived in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane and had 9 children [5 boys and 4 girls] during which time he was a seaman, ferryman and fisherman in Moreton Bay.    Most of his children became fisherman and oystermen or married into families of the fishing and oyster industry, including my grandfather Henry Christian who married and settled in Mooney Mooney on the Hawkesbury River and were pioneers there.    Henry’s sister Julia Catherine married John Tolman who was a Pearl Diver who lived on Thursday Island and John was known as Banana Jack;  it is believed that Julia was the first white woman to live on Thursday Island and when John was away slept with a gun under her pillow.   John died in a pearl diving incident.

Sadly Andrew died at Dunwich Asylum/Hospital in 1897, after being murdered by a South Sea Islander Tommy Anigo.  Andrew and his friend, a Chinaman who were patients at the Asylum, were walking along the beach on Stradbroke Island when his friend was attacked by the South Sea Islander and when Andrew came to his friend’s aid both he and his friend were hit over the head with an iron bar and killed.   Margaret Bridget, Andrew’s wife survived her husband by 32 years.

 It took me almost 30 years to find Andrew’s Norwegian Ancestry and his burial place on Stradbroke Island.

Joan Birtles 8 Jan 2017

(c) Joan Birtles

Brisbane Courier-Mail Jan 27, 1897

Thank you for a most interesting story, Joan.

If you would like more details or feel you may have a connection, please leave a message in the comments below, or you can contact me at the address in About Me at the top of the column and I will pass the message on to Joan.

 If you would like to be a Guest Blogger, please contact me with an outline of your story. The only conditions are that it must be a family history story and must include a Headline of Old from any newspaper or publication.


  1. Thank ypu so much for sharing this story. It's very sad but sounds lume Andrew had a good life before things went downhill for him

    1. Thank you for visiting and your comment, Jennifer. He certainly did have an interesting life, albeit a sad end.

  2. thank you Joan for all of your hard work. This has been shared among our family. thank you also Crissouli for your website. Kind Regards Dan Thompson

  3. Your comment is much appreciated, Dan... glad this is of interest to you and your family.


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