Thursday, July 25, 2013

Update on the obituaries of Thomas Trevithick

I have previously posted the brief article on the death of Thomas Trevithick, replete with possible spelling errors probably driven by the pronunciation of this Cornish name.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 20 September 1913
The death has occurred at Hill End, of Thomas Trevetick, at the age of 79. Deceased crushed some of the richest stones in the seventies from the famous Hawkin's Hill claim, and turned out the largest cakes of gold sent from the field. The deceased leaves six daughters and one son, 47 grand-children, and 65 greatgrandchildren.

As the National Libraries of Australia newspaper digitization efforts have continued, new content has become available. Searching with the incorrect 'Trevetick' spelling has now yielded a longer version of a death notice on Thomas, in the Bathurst Times. This was also published on the 20th of September 1913, and given that the Sydney Morning Herald published a truncated version on the same day, it is likely both are taken from a earlier report (Thomas died on the 12th).

Bathurst Times
Saturday 20 September 1913
The death  occurred recently of one of the oldest pioneers of Hill End - Mr. Thomas Trevetick, aged 79. Mr. Trevetick was born at Truro, Cornwall, and came to Australia when 21 years of age. He landed in Hill End about 1869 with seven children, the oldest being 13 years of age and the youngest 10 months, his wife having dropped dead in Sydney. He started feeding one of the mills then crushing stone, and after a few weeks was put driving, which occupation he followed the rest of his days. Only last year he was driving a mill on Hill End for one of the companies here. He crushed stone from the famous Hawkins' Hill when they could only work for a few hours without removing the amalgam from the boxes, as the great quantity of gold prevented them from further crushing. Mr. Trevetick turned out some of the largest cakes of hold on Hill End. He was an excellent hand amongst machinery, and for many years was always sent for when anything went wrong. He leaves six daughters and one son (by his first wife), 47 grandchildren, and 65 great-grandchildren. He also leaves a widow, as he married again.

After Thomas' death, his widow Mary Ann nee GREEN (1871-1949) posted a notice of thanks, also in the Bathurst Times:

Bathurst Times
29 September 1913
Mrs. Trevetick (widow of the late Mr. Thomas Trevetick) wishes to convey her heartfelt THANKS to the many friends (Mr. Harvey, Public School Teacher, especially) who have so kindly assisted during her late husband's illness.

This obituary is rich in information, and also confirms the famliy connections already known. What about the information on Thomas' work at the stamper batteries? In 'Hillendiania by Donald Friend (1978, Ure Smith, Sydney) it is stated that in 1872 'pride of place for richness of gold went to Paxton's when a two-ton crushing gave up 4150 ounces of gold'. The quartz from this mine was crushed at the Vickery Stamper Battery (, where we know Thomas Trevithick was working at the time, as he stated so in evidence given in in court.

The spelling error is curious. When Thomas died in 1913, his death certificate correctly spelled his name as TREVITHICK - the informant was his wife's brother. Yet in newspaper reports, and the advert by his widow, the name is spelt TREVETICK, which is probably close to how the name was pronounced in Cornwall. When Thomas' widow died in 1949, she was buried at Rylstone Cemetery. Her death was registered under the name TREVITHICK, but the name on her headstone in the Methodist Section is TREVITICH (listed at Australian Cemeteries Index).

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