Ravenswood, Queensland.

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 2019
Surnames/tags: One_Place_Study Queensland Australia
Last profile change on 7 Oct 2021
Ravenswood_Queensland-29.jpg02:30: David Urquhart uploaded Ravenswood Queensland-29.jpg for yourself.
[Thank David for this]
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This Study has been included in the One Place Studies Project.

This project study was formed to build up a history and eventually a more complete story about Ravenswood, a mining boom town in North Queensland, and the surrounding mining fields, it's inhabitants and their lives.

DMS Coordinates.

  • -20°12'60.00" S 146°52'59.99" E
  • The town was gazetted on the 20th of May 1871, by then it was far to late to draw up a grid street system, as the town had grown too fast, and had formed in a radiating pattern from the Elphinstone Creek crossing. The main street was named Macrossan Street and still remains. In 1871 there were 30 licensed hotels.


Goals The goal of this project is to add more substance and a category to profiles on Wikitree and help connect everybody together, who lived and worked in, or around the mining district of Ravenswood, Queensland, Australia... This Ravenswood should not be confused with the Ravenswood in New South Wales, Ravenswood in Victoria, Ravenswood in Western Australia and Ravenswood in Tasmania. There is also a Ravenswood Homestead in New South Wales and a company called Ravenswood Australia.

How to Join Right now this project just has one member, me. I am David Urquhart. Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks. Please don't hesitate in speaking up if you find a broken link.


Task List Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.

  • Add people and their lives to this space.
  • Add more sources and photographs.

Google Maps - Ravenswood.

Ravenswood District.
Charters Towers is to the west of this map and the Burdekin District is to the east.


In the Beginning

  • Gold was first discovered at Elphinstone Creek by Marmaduke Curr while mustering in 1868. The Curr brothers, Marmaduke and Montague had established a property named Merri Merriwa where Elphinstone Creek joined the Burdekin River.
  • The miners soon came to settle all around the area after an article appeared in the Port Denison Times in 1869, and mined with limited success until the early 1900's. The district flourished until, at it's height there were almost 5000 inhabitants and 48 hotels to quench their thirst.
  • Due to an industrial strike in 1912 and the ravages of World War One, by 1915 mining was declining and the district was eventually, almost deserted.[1]


Before the advent of Unions, Miners were expected to work a 48 hour week. They usually wore a cap to keep the dust out of their hair, Flannel shirts, a "bowyang", bands around their pants to keep out the dust and sweat-rags around their necks. They had a "spider" which held their candles and this was usually stuck in rock crevices in the wall, or hung on a projecting piece of rock. They had their billy with an enamel cup and their "crib" in a calico bag. Their footwear was always heavy hobnailed boots, to save their feet from falling rocks. They were always in constant danger from falling rocks, rising water, foul air and explosions.


Ravenswood soil was good, and water was available, usually pumped by a Windmill, so almost everybody had a garden, consisting of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers. Everybody had a herd of goats for milk and meat, which were also used in goat races. They also had chickens, ducks often a pig, cows and horses for travel. People rarely bought blankets. Sacks were opened and covered with different forms of quiltwork. Pillows and mattresses were made from feathers. There was no electricity, so meat was hung in a meat safe made of mesh and covered with bags that were kept wet to keep the meat cool. Meat was mostly corned to keep it longer. Tripe, Brain, Steak and Kidney Pie, Tongue and Liver were a regular part of the menu. Kerosene lamps were used for lighting and the empty tins reused for shelving or containers. Wood stoves were used for cooking and the fire went all day. There was usually a water tank on it, thus a constant supply of hot water. Cribbage and other card games were played to fill the spare hours. Hopscotch was a popular pastime for the girls. Boys had their shanghai's.
Another game was knucklebones, made from goat spine bones, boiled and stained different colours. Five knucklebones were held in one hand, one was thrown up into the air, and while it was up, you had to put the others down, one at a time, and picked them up quickly before the other one came back down.
High infant deaths from disease and dirty water, drunken-ness, murder,


Several murders were recorded around Ravenswood.[2][3]
One, of an unidentified, mutilated, naked body, found 17 miles from Ravenswood, in a corner of a waterhole in a creek on Reid's track on the 11th of December 1870.[4]
Another was, James Arthurs 18th July 1878, 29 yrs, Lawyer, buried Ravenswood.[5]
Maria Josephena Steffen murdered in 1878 by Joseph Mutter.[6]
Duke of Edinburgh Miners.

  • The White Blow is a large quartz outcrop (or blow) standing 15 m high and 45 m wide and is the largest of several irregular masses of quartz in the Ravenswood area. It is situated along the road heading out of Ravenswood towards Clare and the Burdekin District, in what is now a designated Environmental Park.

Early Settlers

  • We begin our search here....
⇉*Archibald Wilson, "The King of Ravenswood".
Wilson Family Residence.
This house was in the center of Ravenswood next to the Court House and now only marked by the set of steps.
⇉*Charles and Ellen Browne.
The Steps to Browne's Hotel.
Browne's Ravenswood Hotel c 1903.
The Ravenswood Hotel had fifty bedrooms, as well as Billiard rooms, Writing rooms and a Grand Ballroom.
⇉*William Oswald Hodgkinson.
⇉*Warden William S. E. M. Charters the man Charters Towers was named after.
⇉*Robert O'Hara Burke & William John Wills
⇉*Hugh Hawthorn Barton, the company manager of The Ravenswood Gold Mining Company which included the Black Jack, Sunset, Grant and Mabel Mill.
⇉*Dinah, his wife, passed away in Ravenswood.
⇉*John Murtagh Macrossan
⇉*Richard Daintree

Ravenswood Court House and Police Station

Ravenswood Court House.
The Ravenswood Court house, a T shaped building, was built in 1882 and added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 1994. After the demise of the town, the buildings were removed in 1965 to Mt Ravenswood station and re-erected further out of the district in the area which is now Lake Dalrymple. With the imminent construction of the Burdekin Dam, the whole town was listed as a heritage site and the court house buildings were moved back to town and are now used as a museum.
⇉*William George Kelly Cusack Warden of Ravenswood.
⇉*William Richard Onslow Hill Police Magistrate in 1879.

St. Patrick's Church

St. Patrick's Church.
Church Gates.
Built in 1871, damaged and repaired in 1884, extended in 1905 by Rooney Bros of Townsville. The Presbytery burned down in 1926.

Annie (Bags) Ferdinand.

Annie Bags.
Annie Bags used to wonder around Ravenswood for many years before making her way to Charters Towers during the 1890's, before finding her way to Townsville where she passed away in 1910 and was left undisturbed in a unmarked grave in the Belgian Gardens Cemetery from the 18th of October 1910 until 2019 when she was given a headstone.

Imperial Hotel

Imperial Hotel.
⇉*Anne Delaney ran by the Delaney family for 90 years.

Railway Hotel

Railway Hotel.
⇉*John Moran Built by John Moran.

Thorps Buildings

Thorp's Building.
Thorp's Miniing Exchange.
⇉*Built by Sydney Hood Thorp

Ravenswood School

Ravenswood School.
As the population grew, so did the school. First built in 1873, it was expanded at least once, and also had the Sandy Creek school building attached to it when that school was closed in 1921.

Ravenswood School Residence

Ravenswood School Residence.

Ravenswood School pupil list

Ravenswood Connections


Mine Accidents

Powney Name Study
Mayo Name Study

Ravenswood Cemetery Gates.
⇉*The Ravenswood Cemetery, Ravenswood.

⇉*The Forgotten Cemetery, Ravenswood.

Ravenswood Burial Register

  • I have a copy of the Ravenswood Burial Records. 1875 - 1987. 35 pages. With an Index.
  • The Forgotten Cemetery had burials in 1871-2, and then the gazetted Cemetery first lists burials from 1875. Qld BMD has 25 deaths in the area during 1871-2. Where were they buried 1872-5 ?

Kirk River

⇉*Kirk River Cemetery, Ravenswood.


Forgotten Ravenswood.
The Forgotten Places

People of Ravenswood.
Still a work in progress.

Ravenswood Links

  • North Queensland's Mining Heritage Trails - Department of ...>"North Queensland's Mining Heritage Trails - Department Of ...". 2020. Yumpu.Com. Accessed February 11 2020. North Queensland Heritage trails.



  • Photographs: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Comments: 2

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David, my step-mothers's ancestors came from England to Ravenswood, 1870s and 80s, name of Wilshere, not on WikiTree yet.

Gosh, I've just seen you have some already, are you related? https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wilshere-41 is my step-mother's father.


posted by Margaret (Gale) Haining
edited by Margaret (Gale) Haining
Hi Margaret, I am related by marriage connections. I have sent you an email, as there is a little too much info to put in the comments section.
posted by David Urquhart