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Ellen Brown Hirst née Hanson (1841-1898) and William Hirst – Portion 8C grave 171. No headstone

Ellen Brown Hirst was born Ellen Brown Hanson in 1841 at Stockport, England. Stockport is a city adjacent to Manchester. At the time, the industrial revolution was in full swing. There was much industry in the area, including cotton mills and hat-making. The area is regarded by many as being very polluted at that time by all the factory chimneys and smoke. Death rates were high for the working people.

Records show that Ellen Brown Hanson had first married James Sherratt in 1865 at Stockport. By 1881, Ellen Brown Sherratt was recorded as living with her mother, Nancy, at Stockport, a widow, with the occupation of ‘cotton weaver’. James Sherratt, her first husband had died on 10 December 1867 and is buried in the Stockport General Cemetery in Cheshire.

By 1883, when her mother died (her father had died in 1868), Ellen was widowed, five of her brothers had died young and the other two had emigrated - one to Australia and one to the USA. Records indicate deaths by Phthisis (Tuberculosis) of several of her brothers.

Ellen’s brother, John Hanson, who also immigrated to Australia and had become a Master Plumber, is also buried in the Dutton Park cemetery. John’s first wife was Mary Ann Castree. She is also buried at Dutton Park cemetery. Their one surviving son of four sons, Edward Joseph Hanson, became a Union Leader, then a Member of the Legislative Assembly of QLD for Buranda 1924 – 1947 (ALP), and the Speaker of the Qld Parliament 1939 – 1944. This was Ellen’s nephew.

Ellen remarried in 1884 (first quarter) to a William Hirst who had given the information on her mother, Nancy Hanson’s Death Certificate. The Hirst’s immigrated to Australia arriving in Brisbane on 22 August 1884 along with Hirst’s daughter, who was also called Ellen. The Post Office Directory showed from 1885 they were living at Highgate Hill at Brisbane not far from Ellen's brother John Hanson as above, (John being a great grandfather of the authors).

Ellen Brown Hanson (Sherratt, Hirst) died 02 July 1898 at Brisbane. William Hirst died in 1913 at Brisbane, and is also buried in that grave. There is no headstone.

Written by Barbara Weller, adapted by Caroline Mann-Smith (Ellen Brown Hanson was the sister of both women’s great grandfather, John Hanson, therefore is their 2 x great Aunt.)

Hockings, Albert John (1826-90), the son of Thomas and Jane Hockings, was born in St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, England. The family emigrated to Australia in 1841 and moved to Brisbane shortly afterwards. Albert became a seed merchant, with nurseries at West End, and published a number of books on gardening. In his day he was one of Brisbane’s best-known citizens, and served as an alderman in the first Brisbane Municipal Council (1859), mayor in both 1865 and 1867, and as MLA in 1876.

Advertisement featuring gardening tools as sold by AJ Hockings. (John Oxley Library)

Albert was one of the first subscribers to Brisbane Grammar School. He was also one of the original trustees of the South Brisbane Cemetery. His mother Jane (1796-1870) had the honour of being the first recorded burial in South Brisbane Cemetery on 1 August 1870 and her beautiful monument still stands today.

Albert married Elizabeth Bailey (c.1822-1907) in 1851 and they had nine children together. He died in November 1890, Elizabeth died in 1907, and they are buried together at the cemetery.

The Hodgen family grave is a tragic reminder of the high infant mortality rates of the late 19th century. The bodies of Samuel (1854-1921) and Sarah Hodgen (1851-1941) lie here, as do their children Charles (13-15 June 1884); Frank (May 1885-May 1886); Edwyn (1890-93); and Dorothy (June-September 1894).

Samuel was originally from Manchester, England, and arrived in Australia as a young child. After living in Toowoomba in the 1860s he wrote for a number of newspapers before working for the government Hansard staff from 1884 until his death, which was caused by heart attack. He married Sarah Bulcock in 1883.

Horrocks, Charles Colville (1844-96) entered the public service in 1870 after serving in the Imperial Army, and was an immigration officer and later the Inspector of Orphanages. He married Helen Miller (1846-1931) and they had 13 children together, most of whom died in childhood or early adulthood. These included Reginald (1870-71); Grace (1871-73); Algernon (1872-73); John (1873-83); Rowland (1876-78); Lucy (d.1878, aged 4 months); Phylis (1881-98); George (1883-1906); Madeline (1884-1907); Doris (1886-1908); and Beatrice (1888-95). Several are buried in the South Brisbane Cemetery.

One of the most difficult losses for the family was 17-year-old Francis Charles Horrocks, who was convicted of murder and executed at Boggo Road in 1892. Charles died of cancer in 1896, and all former ‘State Children’ and their foster families were invited to his funeral. Helen died in 1931, having outlived most of her children.

It has been falsely claimed by a cemetery tour company that the Horrocks family grave was totally washed away in the 1893 floods, but not one grave was lost in any of the floods. It has also been claimed that Francis was buried in this grave and not in portion 6B, but the Brisbane City Council have provided burial records to contradict this claim.

Huxham, Hon. John Saunders (1861-1949): Huxham was born 14 May 1861 at Ivybridge, Devonshire, England. He settled in Sydney in 1879 and worked as a booksellers accountant. He married Eliza Jane Bubb in 1884 and they had five children. In 1889 Huxham moved to Townsville before transferring to Brisbane in 1893. He went on to become manager of Pollard & Co and when the firm closed he and a partner formed John Huxham & Co., importer and musical and sporting goods retailer. His wife died in 1896 and he married Helen Julia Meiklejohn (nee Dougherty) in 1897. They had one daughter. Huxham won the legislative seat of South Brisbane in 1908 but lost it in 1909. He won the adjacent suburban seat of Buranda for the Labour Party in 1912 and held it until 1924. He was interested in hospitals, prisons and Aboriginal matters. He became home secretary in 1916. He secured the control of the Brisbane General Hospital in 1917 and the transfer of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institute to the Department of Public Instruction in 1918. Huxham encouraged important developments in vocational education and in the treatment of disadvantaged children while he was minister for Public Instruction from 1919 to 1924. State education for the handicapped began in 1923 at the South Brisbane School. He died on 4 August 1949.