Mary Jane Burgess was born in Putney Wiltshire 1846/47 to William and Hannah Burgess. On the 7th October 1852 the Burgesses sailed for Australia on the Stebonheath, arriving at Geelong on the 18th January 1852. On board was six year old Mary Jane and 3 older siblings.
Later Mary lived with her parents at Kadnook (flat or kangaroo) station - a part of Kout Narin Station near Harrow in 1848.
As a young woman, she worked at Pine Hills Station, also near Harrow, and married James Byrne in 1867 (see his information for marriage and later).
1. James Henry Byrne 1867-1930 age 63
2. Frederick Burgess Byrne 1868-
3. Margaret Amelia Simpson nee Byrne 1869-1892 age 23 years
4. John Douglass Byrne 1872-
5. Edward Byrne 1877-1953 aged 76
6. George William Byrne 1879-1959 aged 81
7. Mary Jane Henman nee Byrne 1881-
8. Alan Alfred Byrne 1884-1953 aged 69
9. Walter Byrne 1886-1945 aged 58
10. Herbert Byrne 1886-1917 aged 31
11. Hannah Byrne 1889-1920 aged 31
Mary died in 1934 at Rainbow, aged 87. Her Obituary in the Rainbow Argus read:
"Rapidly the ranks of the old pioneers of this district are thinning out and soon the first settlers will have disappeared; nevertheless their labour has not been in vain, and they pass on with the knowledge that they have left the country better than they found it, and that their pioneer work has been the means of later adding immensely to the wealth of the country. Another of that sturdy band of pioneers - Mrs Mary Jane Byrne - wife of James Henry Byrne of Yaapeet crossed the narrow line dividing this known and that Great Unknown on Sunday morning, at the patriarchal age of 87 years. Deceased and her husband were beset with trials, difficulties and hardships, yet faced them with courage and determination which has been a great example to following generations. Deceased's husband survives; they had enjoyed 67 years of married life. Mrs Byrne was born at Wiltshire, England in 1847, and in 1853 landed at Port Fairy with her parents, who followed the gold diggings for some years. Eventually the family settled at Harrow where deceased was married in 1867. In 1881 Mr and Mrs Byrne removed to Gymbowen and then to Natimuk. In 1893 they migrated to Hopevale where Mr Byrne purchased a Mallee Allotment, and remained on the property until 1926, when they retired and took up their residence in Yaapeet.
The inscription on the grave at Rainbow reads:
Treasured memories of Our beloved parents Mary Jane Died 7th Oct 1934 aged 87 Also James died 8th June 1937 aged 89 years In God's care
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