Dying so far from home

In Australia’s pioneering days, many died far from home.

Rev John Otley Rhodes, missionary in Ceylon who died in Bathurst, March 21, 1881 on his way to England in search of health, aged 36 years.” – Bathurst cemetery

“John Kirkup born at Healthpool, Northumberland, England, died 23rd July 1883 in his 50th year, and was buried here far from all his relatives, by whom this stone has been erected.” – Parkes cemetery

The Wesleyan minister  Reverend John Otley  Rhodes, had contracted a “liver complaint’’ while spreading God’s word in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

According to newspaper reports of the day, he intended to recover in Bathurst – why is not revealed –  before continuing home to England.

 “But, already weakened by protracted suffering, his constitution gave away.’

He was only 36. His well-weathered headstone now sits in the Bathurst Cemetery, far from his place of birth.

John Kirkup, buried in the New South Wales town of Parkes, was also buried far from his family in the north of England.

Kirkup had made considerable wealth as a miner of local goldfields, and invested some of that money in a farm of 640 choice acres 12 miles from Parkes. After his death, it sold for 700 pounds.

SOURCES: The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Tuesday 15 March 1881 p 6, Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 – 1954) Thursday 4 February 1915

Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Parkes, NSW, Australia

Published by Sharyn Moodie

Travelling around Australia for work, I've found so many amazing headstones. But what is more amazing is the stories behind some of these deaths, and the way newspapers of the day reported them.

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