The simple headstone of Mr John McDonald at Evans Head cemetery
The simple headstone of Mr John McDonald at Evans Head cemetery austcemindex.com

Postmaster works up until the day he died

A VERY plain headstone sits amongst the other headstones in Evans Head cemetery not giving any indication on the importance of the man it remembers.

The inscription simply says "In loving memory of John McDonald died 10th August, 1938, Aged 72 years. At rest”.

For the previous 20 years until his last day on earth John McDonald was one who provided the life blood to the small beachside village through his role as postmaster.

Long before Facebook, the internet, email and other technological advances in this day and age, Mr McDonald delivered the mail.

As postmaster, everyone would have known him and looked forward to his visit, waiting for that letter, that parcel, that postcard, even possibly the junk mail.

Born in Grafton in 1865 John trained to be a compositor and first worked with the Daily Examiner in his home town.

He eventually moved further north taking on work at the Northern Star before retiring from newspaper work.

From there Mr McDonald tried his hand in the hospitality trade taking on a wine shop and accommodation house in New Italy.

This extended to his buying the "Ventnor” the Evans Head boarding house, wine shop and post office from Mr James Paddon in 1926 which he had been running under lease for some time, for a 'substantial sum' according to the Kyogle Examiner of the day.

The paper congratulated Mr McDonald on his purchase as "Evans Head is rapidly striding ahead, and in a few years time, the present village will be a flourishing township in Winter, as well as in Summer.”

Up until 1929 there didn't seem to be a hotel licence anywhere in Evans Head and alcohol was often brought in from other places.

Mr McDonald was one of many who had businesses there who wanted to see a licenced hotel built to accommodate the ever increasing number of tourists that visited in the Summer months.

On the day of his death Mr McDonald had carried about his business as usual.

When he sat down to have his afternoon tea, he suffered heart failure.

He was much loved around town and his funeral was a very popular affair, held at St John's Anglican Church in Evans Head, before he was buried in the nearby cemetery.

He left behind his widow Florence and eight children.

References

  • 'Evans Head Changes', The Kyogle Examiner, 30 March, 1926, Page 2
  • 'Hotel for Evans Head', The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, 16 April, 1929, Page 1
  • 'Obituary - Mr John McDonald', Northern Star, 11 Aug, 1938, page 16 and 13 Aug, 1938, Page 6
  • 'Obituary', The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, 12 Aug, 1938, Page 4
  • Birth Deaths Marriages, www.bdm.nsw.gov.au, Accessed October 25, 2017.


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