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Hellen Munro

EDITOR: This short story is about Hellen Munro, one of the ancestors of Peter Tibbet.

Hellen's parents were George Munro and Elizabeth Munro. Hellen told Edith (now Mrs. Aylward) that her Grandfather could trace his family back to the Stuart Kings.

George Munro was a Crofter (joint tenant of Scottish farm) they were married at Kiltearn on the 9th of December 1815. Hellen was born at Assynt, Ross & Cromarty in 1838.

As a little girl living in Inverness-shire she had cousins, Leslies living in Ross & Cromarty. They left Scotland for Australia while Hellen was still young and they were the ones who did the exploring of the Darling Downs. Patrick Leslie (25 September 1815-1881) was born at Warthill, Aberdeenshire, the 2nd son of William Leslie (9th Laird of Warthill {estate known as Wartle} and 8th of Folla) and Jane Davidson (sister of W.S. Davidson).

Patrick and his brothers Walter and George were at their Uncle Davidson's property on the Krui River at Collaroi in 1836. The Leslies were first on the Downs in 1840 and took up "North Toolburra" for Patrick on 2 July 1840 and 'Canning Downs' for Walter on the 7th July 1840. North Toolburra today is still a unique property and includes the districts' most desirable country which was acquired by early selection and has extensive Condamine River frontage. Some 1,000 acres of prime alluvial Condamine River flats as well as grazing country, is watered by a large lagoon, bores and dams.

Hellen Munro's sister was married to a horse trader in New South Wales who travelled around buying horses for the forces in India. She had a number of miscarriages and Hellen was coming out to be with her for a birth. But her fiancé, James

Fraser did not want her to go (wouldn't let her) so they got married at Alness on the 25th August 1864. The ship they came to Australia on was "The Charlie Palmer". They struck severe storms in the Bay of Biscay where the boat heaved and tossed over a period of several weeks.

They eventually reached Brisbane in January 1865 and the Frasers travelled to the Darling Downs to stay with Hellen's cousins the Leslie's. James & Hellen came to settle in Gympie two months after gold was found there. James came not to engage in mining, but to transport supplies from Maryborough to the new goldfield by horse and dray. With their young family they settled on a property at the Two Mile at the beginning of 1873 and soon acquired adjoining blocks to accommodate their teams of horses.

From an article in the Gympie Times, Saturday, April 15, by Stuart Doggrell we have a talk with Mrs. E. M. Aylward (nee Leslie) who as a young girl resided with James and Hellen, and others. She told the story of when Hellen Fraser was on the ship coming to Australia she discovered not long after they sailed, that she had lost her gold watch, which had been presented to her and engraved in the back.

Years later in Gympie, when her eldest son George Fraser had grown up, he went in for a raffle and won a gold watch. When he showed it to his mother she cried, "OH! MY WATCH! MY WATCH!" George laughed and said, "It couldn't be, I won it today in a raffle at a hotel". His mother said, "Open the back up and see if it's engraved with my name", and the engraving reads - From a Friend to Miss Jessie Munro 5 April 1878. It was Hellen's watch - Jessie is Hellen's nickname. The watch has been passed down to Gwen Chambers (now Mrs. Muhlbacher).

© Donald Munro Mount Nasura Western Australia