Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A better life (Part 1)

Before leaving England in 1866, Philemon COLEY was a labourer on the canals that snaked through the Black Country. His wife Sylva TRUMAN had grown up working with her siblings at the nail forge that her mother maintained behind their home. Little wonder that they took up the offer of a new life in Queensland.

By November of 1879, Philemon and his family must have considered themselves "landed gentry" running cattle and growing crops on their own property at Mount Walker in the Fassifern Valley. While their five children must have worked hard on the farm, they would never again know the extreme hardship that had taken two of their brothers in 1864 in Worcester.

On 26 May 1883, not yet 24 years old, our 2xgreat grandfather Philemon Lewis COLEY registered a brand that would distinguish his cattle from those of his father. On 15 November that year, he sought a lease over 120 acres of Crown Lands described as Portion 148 in the Parish of Rosevale. He paid a £6 survey fee and £3 rent for the first year for the Homestead Selection.

Philemon Lewis must have been able to quickly convert the lease (by demonstrating significant physical improvements and paying 5 years rent) because in the 1884 Electoral Roll for the Ipswich/Fassifern District, he is recorded as being qualified to vote as a Freehold land owner like his father. By contrast, his brother Cephas is listed as a mere "resident" of the district.

On 6 February 1887, P L COLEY married Margaret HARLEY. By 1890, they were living on, and working, their own farm in one of the Colony's most productive areas with two daughters, Margaret Lucy and Beatrice Olive.

Life in Queensland was good for the Coleys — for a time.

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