The Armstrong Mewburn line was taken to Australia in the person of William Alderson Mewburn of South Shields who arrived with his family in 1887. William had worked in the shipyards as a plater, a skilled man creating the new iron-clad ships that, with their steam engines, were transforming the speed, safety, comfort and goods carrying capacity of international travel.
William Alderson Mewburn 1856-1898
William was born in 1856 at South Shields on Tyneside where his father was a tailor. His parents were originally from Monkwearmouth (now swallowed up, along with Bishopwearmouth, by Sunderland) and in 1874 he married Elizabeth Robson, a girl from Sunderland – so it seems the ties remained strong. By 1881 the couple had set up house at 4 Deptford Road in Bishopwearmouth where William was at work in the shipyards and where Mary Elizabeth their first daughter was a year old, their first two children already having died young. They had three more children there before deciding to move to Australia.
William seems to have come out in advance arriving at Melbourne from Port Charles in New Zealand on the Te Anau in December 1885. His trip to New Zealand has not been found. Elizabeth emigrated to Queensland aboard the Merkara in 1887. She travelled with Mary, George and Thomas (listed as Newburn and missing Ada) as 'remittance' – fare paying – passengers, though in steerage. They sailed from London on the 20th September 1887 under Captain Phillips and arrived at Brisbane on the 15th November 1887. Two months in steerage with three young children would have been a grueling experience.
William Alderson Mewburn – Sunderland to Queensland
The family settled in Brisbane where they had four more children before William’s untimely death at the age of 42 in 1898. The records do not say what he worked at in Australia.
Eight children lived in Australia though only one son married to continue the family name.
Mary Elizabeth Mewburn 1880-1960
Mary Elizabeth was born between Apr-Jun 1880 at Sunderland and died on 13 Sep 1960 at Brisbane, Queensland. She married Oscar Arthur Ewart Beckman on 16 Dec 1908 in Queensland, Australia. He was born about 1883 in Queensland, Australia. He died on 03 Feb 1947 in Queensland, Australia.
George William Mewburn 1881-1954
George William was born on the 23rd of December 1881 at Sunderland, County Durham and was part of the family group that arrived in Brisbane in November 1887.
As a young man he travelled and went off to South Africa. There he married Christina Albertina Petersen, daughter of Sven Petersen and Jessie, on the 6th March 1907 in Cape Town.
Christina was born on 23 October 1887 in Cape Town, South Africa. She died on 21 Jul 1967 in Queensland, Australia.
George signed up for the AIF on 23 Jan 1916. At that point he was 36 and a painter; married to Christina and with 4 children; living at 36 Douglas Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane. He was 5ft 4 1/2 inches tall; weighed 128 pounds, with brown eyes and hair turning grey. He was sent to London aboard the Osterley on 8/5/18 and seems to have served at the Genl. Base Depot Ex Rfls. He appears to have spent time at Rouelles in France arriving there in October 1918. He returned to Australia 4.7.19 on the Norman. He received the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
He died on 30 May 1954 at Brisbane.
George William and Christina Albertina had two children in South Africa before George took them back to Australia where another five were born (Some of the details of this family are from the Rosenburg Family Tree on Ancestry and have not been verified.):
Rodney William Mewburn 1907-1989
Rodney William, known as "Jimmy" was born in 1907 in Cape Town, South Africa. He died on 31 Oct 1989 in Brisbane, Queensland. He married Margaret Mary Butterworth, daughter of Joseph Butterworth and Elizabeth Coughlan, in 1931 in Queensland. She was born on 22 Apr 1908 in Brisbane. She died in 1968 in Queensland.
Robert George Mewburn 1909-1981
Robert George "Bobby" was born on 13 Dec 1909 in Good Hope, South Africa. He died on 24 Oct 1981 in Brisbane3. He married Elizabeth Dinah Haskings on 21 Jan 1933 in Queensland. She died on 13 Jun 2002 in Toombul, Queensland.
Harold Leslie Mewburn 1913-1954
Harold Leslie "Billy" was born on 16 Apr 1913 in Brisbane34. He died on 08 Jul 1954 in Queensland35. He married Evelyn Grace Frostick.
Billy was employed as a truck driver.
Andrew Laidley Mewburn 1915-1994
Andrew Laidley was born on 30 Nov 1915 in Brisbane and died there on 10 Oct 1994. He married Freda Eleanor Beavis, daughter of Hector Francis Beavis and Miriam Ivy Chard, about Oct 1940 in Brisbane. She was born on 25 Mar 1921 in Queensland. She died on 10 Jul 1981 in Queensland36.
Andrew was employed as a linesman, PMG.
Ernest James Mewburn 1920-1982
Ernest James was born on 03 Jul 1920 in Brisbane and died in Brisbane, on 29 Dec 1982. He married Mavis Newberry-Allan. She was born on 11 Mar 1925. She died on 06 Feb 2000 in Brisbane.
Jessie Elizabeth Mewburn 1923-1999
Jessie Elizabeth was born on 09 Aug 1923 in Brisbane. She died on 24 Aug 1999 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She married Howard Glenn Kinter on 11 Jan 1947 in Brisbane. He was born on 24 Jan 1920 in Pittsburgh. He died on 19 Nov 1991 in Pittsburgh.
Howard was employed as a crane driver.
Betty Mewburn 1926-2007
Betty was born on 17 Oct 1926 in Brisbane. She died on 04 Sep 2007. She married someone called Krulc on 09 Jan 1954 in Brisbane.
Betty was employed as a cashier, Woolworths.
Ada Mewburn 1883-1963
Ada was born between Oct-Dec 1883 in Sunderland, County Durham. She died on 13 Jan 1963 in Brisbane, Queensland. She married Albert Parry on 29 Jul 1905 in Queensland. He was born about 1887. He died on 04 Sep 1959 in Brisbane.
Thomas Alderson Mewburn 1885-1894
Thomas Alderson was born between Apr-Jun 1885 in Sunderland, County Durham. He died on 20 Oct 1894 in Queensland.
Thomas emigrated to Brisbane on 15 Nov 1887.
Robert Robson Mewburn 1890-1916
Robert was born on the 6th July 1890 in Brisbane. He died on the 5th November 1916 at Flers on the Somme in Picardie, France. He is buried at Warlencourt British Cemetery in France as Private 3141; 25th Batt., Australian Light Infantry, A.I.F.
He enlisted with the AIF on 19 Aug 1915. At that time he was a labourer living at Toll Shop, Burnett Bridge, Bundaberg, Queensland. He was 5 ft. 5 1/2 inches tall and weighed 125 pounds with grey eyes and brown hair. He was a Methodist.
Robert was sent abroad on the Oriana arriving at Alexandria on the 21st March 1916 and then disembarking at Marseilles on the 27th March 1916. It seems that he was not too impressed by the restrictions of military life and almost immediately went absent without leave. He was disciplined for 7 days at Etaples on the 10th April for using an altered pass belonging to someone else. Having served his time he rejoined the Battalion on May 22nd. However, by the 17th August he was hospitalised with orchitis - inflammation of the testicles. Orchitis can be caused by mumps or by various venereal diseases. Was this condition linked to his absence without leave in Etaples?
Robert returned to his Battalion again on the 19th August. He was reported missing in action on the 5th November. He had been in France for just seven months. He received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Soldiers going into battle were required to make wills and in his he left everything to his mother, Elizabeth or, if she pre-deceased him, to his sisters Lizzie (Mrs O. Beckman), Christina and Florrie.
Christina Mewburn 1891-?
Christina was born in 1891 in Queensland. She died about 1979 in Brisbane. She married Walter Leslie Ford, a labourer, about 1932 in Queensland. He was born about 1893 in England. He died on 17 Oct 1940 in Queensland.
Christina made quite a stir in the newspapers. On 20 December 1913, she was shot by a jealous suitor. She was 22 at the time and working as a waitress in her mother's refreshment rooms, known as 'The Palace Cafe', (situated between G.J. Pages chemist and Paling's showrooms) in Bourbon Street, Bundaberg. A William Alfred Broadbridge entered and shot at her three times with a revolver, hitting her in the chest twice. She was rushed to hospital in a serious condition. He was quickly arrested by Constable Connor and tried with attempted murder. The accused, who was also known under the alias of Huett, was aged 21 and an engineer by trade. He had only recently arrived in the country. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by Justice Lukin but was eligible for parole after 2 years if he had good behaviour and medical authorities had found him to be mentally sound. Christina seemed to have made a full recovery, as she went on to be married and live a relatively long life.
Arthur Mewburn 1893-1893
Arthur’s was an infant death. He was born on 05 Sep 1893 and died on 19 Dec 1893.
Florence Mewburn 1896-1919
Florence was born on 28 Mar 1896 in Queensland. She died on 20 Aug 1919 and was buried on 21 Aug 1919 at Bundaberg. She had worked as a waitress at her mother’s place, the Palace Café in Bundaberg.