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John & Sarah Munro

EDITOR : This family story was sent to me by Ian Munro who farms at Rankin’s Springs in New South Wales and the photo shows three generations of the family. This family is related to Neil Munro the writer – I did a story about him in one of the earlier newsletters and in fact, Ian was part of a DNA testing program which showed that all of the Loch Fyne Munros have a common ancestor and it looks as if they are descended from a Munro survivor of the battle of Flodden. Duncan Beaton, A cousin of Ian, has traced the family back to 1650 in Argyle (and I am green with envy).

The photo CHECK is taken at "Auchenrea", Bundalong, Victoria on the Golden Wedding anniversary of John and Sarah Munro on August 8, 1928. The family photograph includes all of the offspring of John and Sarah except for the families of two of the sons Archibald and Robert Alexander, who had both purchased land in the Rankin’s Springs area.

John and Sarah Munro (nee McEwen) from the shores of Loch Fyne, Argyll-shire, Scotland boarded the 1089 ton "Alice Platt" at Liverpool on second of September 1878 and arrived in Melbourne 3 months later on 4th December, 1878. They had married on the 28th August, 1878 just days prior to their departure.

On their marriage certificate John has declared his occupation as a ship's carpenter and his father as a boat builder. Sarah McEwen's father Hugh is recorded as a Fisherman. These pursuits are in keeping with the main industry of the Loch Fyne area at the time i.e. fishing. Having been raised in the Western Highlands, John and Sarah spoke Gaelic fluently. They settled on the Bundalong property they named "Auchenrea" where they farmed and John continued his trade as a carpenter in the local district. He built several churches including the first Presbyterian building at Bundalong.

John and Sarah Munro and family

They raised eight children, 5 boys and 3 girls - Jane Campbell, Annie Carmichael, John, Hugh, Archibald, Donald, Robert Alexander and Sarah Elizabeth. All of the immediate offspring were involved in their own properties mostly in the Bundalong, Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Corowa and Daysdale. As mentioned previously two sons moved further north to Rankin's Springs in NSW.

Sarah predeceased John by 12 years, having succumbed to pneumonia soon after the photo was taken on 13th October, 1928. John had the following Gaelic message inscribed on her headstone in the Yarrawonga cemetery- MO BHEANNACHD, LEAT, MOHR - which in English would read “My best/greatest blessings be with you.”

Many of John and Sarah's descendants still farm in the areas mentioned and in new localities including Queensland and Northern NSW. Some have branched into other occupations including Science, Education and Medicine. Names of Families that can be traced to this photo include: - Williams, McPhail, McCurdy, Bower, Cameron, Skewes, Cameron, Nunn, Bowles, Ferguson, Lanyon, Rich, and Houston.

© Ian Munro Rankin Springs NSW Australia