Saturday, February 12, 2011

The LAFIURA grave at Rookwood

I've previously written about William MOLONEY (1872 Sydney NSW - 1916 Redfern NSW), son of my ancestor John MOLONEY (1841 Dromalty Limerick - 1912 Redfern NSW):

He married Kate LAFIURA (birth name Catherine Ellen Ackers LINDSAY) in 1894, had two sons with  herbefore being divorced in 1900. Kate took the youngest son, William Joseph MOLONEY (1898-1959), with her to Newcastle when she married Richard RUNDLE (1869-1936, himself divorced, and already known for their prominent tailoring business). in 1904, and for some reason abandoned the elder son John MOLONEY (1895-?) who was brought up by other Moloney family members including my HALL family.

Catherine was born in Newcastle NSW as Catherine Ellen Ackers Lindsay (NSW BDM 16604/1877 LINDSAY, CATHERINE E A, f: DAVID, m: BRIDGET, reg: NEWCASTLE). She was born after her father, David Watson LINDSAY (abt 1846 - 12 Dec 1876) had died. She was the only child of the marriage of David to Bridget Elizabeth TOBIN (marriage registered in Newcastle in 1874). Bridget was baptised in NSW in 1847 (NSW BDM V18472171 65/1847 TOBIN, BRIDGET, f: JAMES, m: ELLEN).

David was the Captain of the ship 'William Ackers' which sank in December 1876 in New Zealand. As such his death wasn't registered in Australia. There are a number of newspaper articles describing the wreck. According to the reports the ship was wrecked in the Foveux Straits. Catherine's full name, Catherine Ellen Ackers LINDSAY, obviously drew the 'Ackers' from the ship her father died in command of. The return of wrecks for the ship 'William Ackers' (AJHR 1877 Section H29 page 26 Return of Wrecks) notes that the wreck occured at Waipapa Reef, Otago, on 11 Dec 1876, a barque of 299 tons with 10 crew, of whom 8 died. The ship was carrying timber. The Finding of Court of Inquiry notes "Loss of the vessel caused by the master keeping too close to the land; and the loss of the captain and seven men of the crew was mainly, if not entirely, the result of the deck cargo getting adrift and destroying the boats." I have not been able to determine whether his body was recovered/buried.

After David died (Dec 1876), Bridget married Benjamin LAFIURA (Incorrect NSW BDM index: 1137/1879, groom LINDSAY, BRIDGES E to bride LAFURA, BENJM, reg: SYDNEY). Clearly Bridget was nautically inclined as Benjamin was also a sailor.

Mariners and ships in Australian Waters
Age: 19, Of what nation: ITALY, Status: CREW

Benjamin naturalised in 1883 in NSW. Benjamin and Bridget Elizabeth had at least five children together, apparently living in the Redfern area of NSW along with Catherine from Bridget's first marriage. This explains how Catherine LINDSAY, now known as Catherine LAFIURA, met William MOLONEY - they also lived in the area. According to directories, the LAFIURA family lived in Alexandria, running a hotel. Benjamin died in 1897 (registered Waterloo NSW) and there was an inquest into his death at his own hotel (!), which stated that he died at the Stepney Hotel, Raglan St, Alexandria, on the 26th Oct, aged 39. Shockingly, the finding was that his death was the result of "Poison to wit muriatic acid self administered".

The LAFIURA family grave is at Rookwood Cemetery. I was last in Sydney about 18 months ago and spent time looking at headstones. I was aware of LAFIURA headstone at Rookwood but imagine just bumping into it! That's what happened. It is located immediately adjacent to the St Michael the Archangel Chapel (see for map). I have a separate set of photos of this monument that a fellow MOLONEY descendant took (Chris MOLONEY) and the pictures here are the best examples of each face. The monument is quite grand in an obelisk style, and very unlike the others around it. It's in the Catholic (Necropolis) section and it appears Benjamin is buried there depite having committed suicide. There were only inscriptions on three faces of the monument.

Rookwood Necropolis Burial IndexLafuira Benjamin
Location: Mortuary Mortuary 1
Area: A
Grave: 245

Monument transcripts

Face 1
In Fond Loving Memory of
Our Dear Father
Benjamin Lafiura
Died 25th Oct 1897
Aged 48 years
Also in Loving Memory
Of our beloved mother
Elizabeth Lafiura
Died 22nd July 1919
Aged 73 years
Sweet Jesus have mercy on her soul

Face 2
Died 4th March 1882
Aged 8 months
Sweet Babe in Heaven
Sacred to the Memory of
Died 6th October 1892
Aged 74 years
Beloved mother of Mrs Lafiura

Face 3
In Memory of
Who departed this life
14th July 1909
Aged 28 years

Rose LAFIURA died in 1909 aged 23, daughter of Ben Lafiura and Bridget nee Tobin. Grave 248.
Benjamin LAFIURA died in 1897 aged about 48. Gave 245.
Elizabeth LAFIURA is Bridget Elizabeth nee TOBIN formerly LINDSAY, died 1919 aged 73 years. Grave 246.
Rosaline Mary LAFIURA, died 1882 aged 8 months, daughter of Ben Lafiura and Bridget Tobin. Grave247.
Ellen LAKE, died 1893 aged about 70. Grave 247. Ellen Bridget Elizabeth TOBIN's mother. Why the name LAKE? She married James TOBIN in 1846 at St Mary's Cathedral. I haven't found her subsequent marriage to William LAKE, however:
The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 7 October 1893
FUNERALS. The friends of Mr William Lake are respectfully informed that the Funeral of his dearly beloved WIFE, Ellen, will move from Mount Carmel Church TO-MORROW (Sunday) AFTERNOON at 1:30 for R.C. Cemetery, Rookwood.

I have found two others buried in the plot without an inscription.
Josephine Elsie LAFIURA. Grave 244. Never married, born 1884 daughter of Benjamin and Bridget, died 1974. Buried in the family plot 55 years after her mother.
William J RUNDLE born MOLONEY !!!! Estranged from his father, and grandson of Bridget LAFIURA. He died in 1959 - father listed unknown, registered in Sydney. He never married. How William came to be buried in the family plot is not known.

I would very much like to hear from descendants of these lines with more information!

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