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The Shoalhaven Munros
EDITOR : This story is part of a truly amazing family tree sent to me by Mrs Mary Lidbetter and is only a very small part of this family tree that covered 190 A4 pages when last printed out in 2000!! Please read and enjoy. Mary’s information has come from family members who have been very active in researching and sharing their information.
Mary’s tree starts with James Munro who was born in Lairg, Scotland and all we know about him is that he had a son, Donald born in 1764. Donald married Catherine Ross and their son, William, was born abt 1787 in Lairg. He married Ann McKay in 1812 in Farr - William was a farmer and Ann a dairymaid. They had seven children all born in Sutherland between 1814 and 1830 and when the youngest was eight years old, the family decided to migrate to Australia. They arrived in Sydney on February 11, 1839 on board the ship James Moran.
They had come out to Australia under a government scheme that enabled colonists to bring out emigrants whose services they needed, the government paying a bounty equal to the cost of the passage money out of the proceeds of land sales. On arrival, William was employed by Mr Glanville of St Vincent NSW for 25 pounds per year, plus rations.
William and Ann’s eldest son, Donald, married Jessie MacPherson in 1838, just before they left Scotland. Donald was a shepherd and Jessie a housemaid. When Donald and Jessie arrived in Australia, they were employed by Richard Scougall of Dalkeith in the Hunter Valley NSW and had moved to the Shoalhaven by 1842.
Donald & Jessie had ten children - Donald (Danny), Annie, Mary Jane, William, Marion, George (Geordie), Alexander, Helen, Jessie Margaret and Georgina Catherine. What follows is a little bit about the life of their son William Munro.
William Munro came from the Shoalhaven by sailing ship to Iluka at the mouth of the Clarence River in April 1866 at the age of 19. He hired an aborigine and walked along the beach to Iron Gates at the entrance of the Evans River where he swam across and went on to Ballina. He worked at various jobs all round Ballina and was supposed to have built the first Presbyterian Church there. He worked on the road to Lismore up the Ballina Cutting and in tin mines at Soferino and Stanthorpe. He selected land at Steve King's Plain and married Emmie de Sonter at Ballina in 1877. Emmie was born in 1852 in Parramatta, Sydney.
Three successive floods made William look for higher ground. While earlier working on the telegraph line from Lismore to the Tweed River out through Dunoon and over the Nightcap Range, he had noted the good country, so he and his Uncle, Sandy McPherson, took up land there. William selected 150 acres and subsequently took up 309 acres. When other members of the Munro family came up from the Shoalhaven, he handed over the Steve King's Plain land to Alex (I assume that was his brother) and moved to Dunoon in 1889. William went ahead of his family and erected a four-roomed slab and shingle house on the property before his wife and 8 children arrived. Three more children were born there.
The family moved in a spring cart, as did all the furniture and personal belongings. Up until 1904 Emmie always cooked on two camp ovens, then she had the pleasure of cooking her first meal in a fuel stove. Fruit trees were soon planted around the home, oranges, guavas, pears, and grapes, plus a vegetable garden. Jams, pickles and preserves all came as a result of the home garden. Fish from Rocky Creek were plentiful, and game also helped to supplement the menu. William also bred horses and he played the accordion.