THE resting place of William and Annie Jane Cravigan in Woodburn cemetery.
THE resting place of William and Annie Jane Cravigan in Woodburn cemetery. Austcemindex

Hardships and isolation for new settlers

WHEN Annie Jane Cravigan (nee Francis) came to live in Woodburn, she had exchanged the Nepean River where she was born, west of Sydney, for the Richmond River, where she would raise her family.

In Sydney she had married William in 1857 at 21 years old, and as a young bride moved with him to the Kyogle station, now known as Runnymede.

The area was only newly settled by the white man and luxuries were few and far between.

After a number of years on the Kyogle Station, William was appointed to take charge of Tuckombil Station, near Woodburn for Mr Clark Irving.

Woodburn was a river port in the 1860s-70s and during this time at the station it is believed Mrs Cravigan would have gone easily 18 months without seeing another white woman.

This on top of the hardships of raising a young family without the convenience of a large town nearby.

In 1879 the Cravigans gave up station life and took up 320 acres on the north side of the Richmond River called Wyambah where they successfully grew cane and raised stock.

In later years they also took up dairying.

Wyambah finally went on the market in 1906 except for six acres when Annie Jane and William retired from farming life.

After William died Annie-Jane stayed at North Woodburn until she became too frail, then moved to live with her grand-daughter at Gundurimba.

At 94 years of age Annie left this life in 1930, leaving behind six girls and two boys living (one son died in infancy and another drowned at 16 years old), 37 grand children, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild only 12 months old.

She was buried beside William at Woodburn cemetery, their resting place marked by an ornate and angelic headstone.

References: Late Mrs AJ Cravigan, The Kyogle Examiner, October 3, 1930; Richmond Pioneer - Late Mrs AJ Cravigan, Tweed Daily, October 3, 1930; Pioneer Passes - Late Mrs AJ Cravigan, The Northern Star, October 1, 1930.



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