Monday, July 7, 2014


July 3rd DAY 17

I wont write any more about this very hilly country which has been the hub of many mining pursuits
and part of the Hodgkinson Gold Fields.
Instead I plan to record some of the information about the Desailly brothers who came up here
during early 1880s. James Venture Mulligan is credited with finding gold in the area and proclaiming it
a Gold Field in 1876. Mt Mulligan was named after this man. It is a spectacular range of over 30 kms in length.It has very steep rocky sheer faces and was known as a sacred place for aboriginies.

A cattle station was settled by Mr Middlemiss. This is the Station on which Charles and Lewis worked with cattle.
 In March 1883 Charles was in charge of a mob of cattle at the lower end of Mt Mulligan when he was fatally speared by an Aborigine. He was just 24 years of age. It is believed that he took the cattle too close to a sacred Aboriginal site causing this tragic event. Police and a tracker found his body with a spear through the right kidney
 At the time the Police had an amnesty with the Mt Mulligan Aboriginals and consequently the perpetrator
of the crime was killed by his tribal mates.It was generally thought by Police that Charles, himself,
brought about his own demise. At this time there were two tribes of 'blacks' as they were referred to in
the 1880s, one tribe was calm and placid whereas the other tribe was much more confrontational.

Lewis Desailly buried his brother at the Thornborough cemetery..the very place we walked through yesterday.
A tree seedling was planted on the grave, but no definite memorial.This is well over 130 years ago so
 tracing the spot of an unmarked grave seems impossible. The passage of time has damaged many grave
 memorials and records have been lost.

I feel my decision to include photos of both Charles and Lewis is important for this record. Charles was
the eldest, Lewis a couple of years younger, and my grandfather, Ormond was the third son. 'Ormie' as he
was referred to wrote an occasional letter to his brothers.

Who really knows the exact circumstance of this incident. I have made a very brief precis which I have
gathered from a number of sources. It is an interesting Desailly family story. My connection with this
family is through my mother who was Lurline Desailly and daughter of Ormond and Rosa Desailly.

Stories of this event have been recorded in the book 'The Desailly Family in Australia' by Jan Parker.
Norman Desailly wrote an article on the topic in 1986 and this was printed in the Cairns Historical
Society Bulletin. Death notices in the Hobart Mercury and the Melbourne Argus told a more formal record
in March and April 1883. Heritage records from Mareeba Shire gave me interesting reports.
 My very earliest knowledge of this event came from my Auntie Lal when I was about 12 years old and doing a Family History project while at Benalla High School. All records of the event run with a similar story
buy all have slight variations.
Charles Francis Desailly 1858 - 1883




Lewis James 1860 - 1922
Ormond Edwin Desailly (My grandfather)
!862 - 1940

1 comment:

  1. Seems you may have ancestors in France. Count d'Assailly from Vouille. When people moved overseas they often changed name slightly as they found it tiresome to constantly correct spelling.
    Your blog came up as I did searches of Count d'Assailly. I was at Vouille today and took pics of their graves in cemetery. Their chateau is still standing.

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