Joseph Tolhurst and his sister Ada share a gravestone in a small park at the end of Angel Close, Forster. Joseph was just 18 years old when he was killed at the Breckenridge Sawmills, Forster in October 1880. He was putting a belt on a machine when his foot slipped and he was drawn into the saw mill.1 Ada his sister died four years later aged 16.2
Joseph and Ada’s parents were Edwin Tolhurst and Harriett Blanch. Edwin was an immigrant from Kent, England and met Harriett at the Myall River now known as Bulahdelah. They married in 1861 with Harriett being just 16 years old and requiring the consent of her father Thomas Blanch.3 Thomas Blanch was known for building the Plough Inn at Bulahdelah in the 1860s and establishing the first hotel in Forster (Cape Hawke) in the 1870s.4
Edwin and Harriett lived in the Myall River area for several years rearing their 12 children before moving to Forster where Edwin was employed as a saw miller in the same sawmill where his son died several years later.5 Edwin was also one of three original trustees of the dedicated site for the Forster School of Arts.6
As was common practice in earlier years, people moved back to the cities in their senior years to take advantage of services not available in rural areas. Edwin and Harriett lived their final days in their house “Hyanthes” in Campsie.7 Edwin died in 1916 and Harriett died a year later. They are buried together in Rookwood Cemetery.8
The headstone for James and Ada is recognised as the first located in the Angel Close cemetery and I hope by piecing together their history their memories will not be lost forever…
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 SMH, 28 October 1880, 5; Ancestry.com.au, NSW Register of Coroners’ Inquests and Magisterial Inquiries, 1880.
2 NSW BDM, death index No. 9908/1884.
4 https://pubtic.com.au/eMag/June-2016/pubtic%20eMag%20June%202016.pdf; Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, 26 August 1876, 267.
5 Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, 26 Aug 1876, 267.
6 NSW Government Gazette, 29 March 1878, Issue NO. 91, 1275.
7 SMH, 11 December 1916, 5.
8 Rookwood Cemetery, Deceased Search. Plot T, Zone C #11807.