Josiah Miles was born at Booral in 18521 to parents Henry and Elizabeth Miles who migrated from England in 1850.2 The family moved to Forster where Josiah met and married Annie Dun.3 Josiah and Annie had five children but two daughters died very young – Annie (who was a twin) in 1886 survived only 14 days and Mary Barbra passed away in 1893 aged 12 months.4 Both of these babies’ names are visible on a broken headstone in the Angel Close Historic Cemetery at Forster.
In 1885, Josiah and his brother Thomas took over the Forster sawmill and shipbuilding yard which fronted Wallis Lake.5 For many years the business carried on until the mill was destroyed by fire for the second time in 1920 and the decision was made not to rebuild.6
Josiah was a Sunday School Superintendent and a Lay Reader at the Forster Methodist Church. He was also a foundation member of the Forster School of Arts which was built in 1877 and held the position of treasurer and secretary for many years.7 His wife Annie had died 39 years earlier from influenza,8 however Josiah remained physically and mentally active until the age of 90 still taking part in all local affairs involving his community.
The day of Josiah’s funeral was a large but solemn one in the little town by the sea. He is buried next to his wife in the Presbyterian section of Forster Cemetery.9
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 Ancestry.com.au, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981.
2 Ancestry.com.au, NSW unassisted immigrant passenger lists, ship Francis Ridley, September 1850.
3 NSW BDM, marriage index No. 3900/1881.
4 NSW BDM, death indexes No. 10296/1886 and No. 14063/1893.
5 Government Gazette of the State of NSW, 31 January 1919, Issue No. 15, 671; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 17 February 1931, 1.
6 Maitland Weekly Mercury, 21 August 1920, 5.
7 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 January 1921, 4; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 28 July 1942, 1.
8 Manning River Times, 12 August 1903.
9 Manning River Times, 29 July 1942, 3.