Mary Emma Baker (b.8/12/1849....d1/12/1936)
Mary Emma Baker
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Born : unknown
: unknown at
Died/Where Buried : Byron
Bay / Byron Bay Cemetery
Names:Samuel . Baker
. & Lucy Noakes (b......dC1876)
Name : .H
. Thomas . Johnson .
( b.21/9/1849... d1929)
Married : 14/1/1875
Charles . . Johnson
. m 20/9/1833 .H
Alice . Waddington
. Samuel . Henry Johnson
(b.25-4-1876.d.13/7/1962.) & H
. Mary . Ellen . Reddacliff
. ( b.1879 - d.1962)****
2. Charles William . Johnson . .
3. Alice . Lucy Jane Johnson
(1b.1878..d.1950..) m .H
. William . . Reddacliff
. . (b1881..d1942.)*****
4. Lucy Mabel Mary. Johnson .
5. John Eric . Johnson .
6. George Alexander . Johnson .
7 .Horatio Theodore . Johnson .
(b.3-2-1886..d.) m 1908 Annie Ubrihien(b.....d)
8. Jane Ivy Annie . Johnson .
9. Mary Eliza Beatrice. Johnson .
. Kathleen . Irene Maud . Johnson
. (b.13-6-1893...d.21/9/1943) m 1913 Frederick G . Borrowdale
11. Olive Isabella Ellen . Johnson .
History & Achievements
Due to some of this item being
unreadable we have re-typed it word for word as it appeared
,including any spelling mistakes. . It was written around 1/12/1936
. Due to the years of difference some
of the places mentioned may no longer exist. Note the /- stands for
shillings (currency befor the dollar) Some noticable mistakes are .
1. Her Father was Samuel Baker not J.Baker 2. Wyangarie Station is
spelt as is not with a Y .3. The words Virbin srub is used instead of
Virgin . Virbin ?
- The death of Mary Emma Johnson
at her residence "Pendenis" Massinger Street,
Byron Bay, on Friday morning marked, the
passing of one of Byron Bay's oldest and well-known residents.
She was a grand old lady beloved, by all who
came in contact with her.
The late Mary Emma Johnson, daughter of the
late Mr. and Mrs. J Baker of the Hunter
River district , was born at Maitland on the8th
december 1849 and in one weeks time would have celebrated her 87th
birthday. At the age of 17 she came to the Richmond to keep house
for her brother, Henry Baker, who had taken up a selection at
After three years, her family moved up to the
Richmond where they eventually settled.
In 1875 the deceased married John Thomas
Johnson, who was engaged in cedar
work at Terania Creek. The late Mr. Johnson was
in partnership with Mr. Henry Baker engaged in shipping of cedar
logs to Sydney. Native were emplayed to locate the cedar trees in
the scrub, and when located these trees were felled then floated
down the Richmond whence they linked up with the ships that came at
limited periods to the district.
After marrying , Mr. and Mrs. Johnson settled
at Wyanggerie Station owned by the
Bundocks, where Mr. Johnson was employed as a
stockman. Leaving Yangerie Station they returned to Kilgrin where
they commenced a butchering buisness.
Following this Mr. Johnson selected at Binna
Burra, the family moved out to "Cedar House " in 1886.
The move to this selection was made per medium
of spring carts on tracks cut
through virbin scrub. Most primitive methods of
living were necessary at first, the kitchen being made in the spur
of a tree and there the late Mrs. Johnson did all her cooking. Later
a modern cottage was constructed by Mr. Johnson from timber felled
on the selection, also pit sawn and treated there. The house still
stands to-day with the original iron on the roof, the property now
being owned by Mr. Lawrie of Binna Burra.
Many harships were endured in makeing this
property what it is to-day. The entire selection
had to be cleared, the majority of it being
heavily timbered. Following the clearing the entire property was
hand planted with buffalo grass, the main implament being a hoe.
No roads were known in these days merely bush
tracks ; Mr. Johnson would ride to
Ballina on horse back through the scrub
carrying a barrel of home made butter on one side, which butter was
shipped to Sydney and act as ballast, and a barrel of stones on the
other, while on his saddle would be a package of eggs, generaly
about 18 dozen for which he recieved the handsome sum of threepence
per dozen. On his return he took back necessary stores. Much of the
general necessities were grown on the selection. A quantity of arrow
root was always grown: this they treated themselves and used as
Dingoes made themselves felt at all times, when
fresh meat supplies were killed,
they would follow Mr. Johnson right up to the
house. When pigs had been produced in sufficiant quantity for
marketing they were driven on foot through the scrub to Ballina and
Byron Bay to be shipped to Sydney. This was a long and tedious job.
Mr. Johnson then aquired property at Brunswick and moved out in
1902. From here, John, one of the boys, selected at McLeod's Shoot
that property which is known as "Chevin," while Mr.
Johnson and the remaining family moved to Cooper's Shoot then
finally to Byron Bay.
The late Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were residents of
Byron Bay for the past 251/2 years. Mrs. Johnson was ardent Church
worker at all times and supported anything of a charitable nature.
" A GRAND OLD LADY "
In a short service held at the residence prior
to the funeral on Saturday, Canon
Gerry, reffering to the late Mrs. Johnson, said
that it was a pity this world was not blessed with more people
bearing the wonderful qualities of this dear lady. He said" She
had a heart of gold and nothing but kind thoughts. No one ever
appealed to help from her in vain. She was loved by everybody that
knew her, truely she was a grand old lady."
The late Mrs. Johnson was predeceased by her
husband seven years ago and is survived
by the following members of the family: Sons,
Samuel. H. Johnson (Mullumbimby), John E. (Ewingdale), H. T. Johnson
(Dundaberg); daughters Alice, Mrs. Reddacliff (Brisbane), Lucy Bath
(Mungungo, Q), Jane Mrs. Howes(Granville), Mary, Mrs. Latimer
(Mullumbimby), Kit Mrs. Borrowdale(Mullumbimby), Olive, Mrs. Austen(
There are also 53 grandchildren and one great
grandchild She is also survived by the
following brothers and sisters: John Baker
(Woodburn), William Baker (Myocum) and George Baker (Tweed Heads ),
and Mrs. Gollan (Coraki).
Floral tributes were recieved from sons and
daughters, grandchildren, Masonic Lodge, Mr. and Mrs. Poolman and
family, Mr. and Mrs. McDermott, Mrs. R. Burnet, Mr. and Mrs. J.C.
McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Johnson, Mrs. Rhode, Mr. and
Mrs.Hackett., Mr. and Mrs. H Riding, Mr. and Mrs. Gerry, Mr. and
Mrs. Sanders(Grafton), Mr. and Mrs. Brownell, Mrs. H. Burns, Miss.
Woodward, Mrs and Mrs. G. Flick, Mr. and Mrs. H. Gill, Mr. and Mrs.
Yager, Mr. and Mrs. Ainsley, Mrs. G. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Simes ,
Miss Simes, Mrs. F. Wright, Mr and Mrs. R. Balmer, Mr. J Jamison,
Mr. Tullock (Myocum), Mr Will Baker , Mr. George Baker (Tweed Heads)
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Johnson, Mr. and Mrs Fred Bowe, Mr. and Mrs H.
Basett and many others .
The Funeral was one of the most largely
attended in the district, there being
representative from far and near.
On Sunday night Canon Gerry conducted a
memorial service in the Church of
It was written around late November 1936 . Due
to the years of difference some of places mentiond may no longer
exist. Note the /- stands for shillings (currency before the dollar)
Please note: no offence is intended if one is offended by the use of
the words" Blacks" please take it up with the person who
LIFE OF PIONEER
MRS. MARY EMMA
The late Mrs. Mary Emma Johnson, of Byron Bay,
whose death has occured. lived
on the far North Coast for 70 years, and
episodes in her life merit chronicling among the record of the
pioneers. With her husband, the late Mr. John Thomas Johnson, she
was one of the very first settlers in the Bangalow-Binna Burra
district in the heart of "The Big Scrub" tract, and for
six months did not see another white woman.
The late Mrs. Johnson was born near Maitland on
December 9, 1849 the daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Baker, and when 17 came
to keep house for her brother, Hary who had selected at Kilgin, near
Woodburn. Another brother Jack also selected shortly afterwards, and
the Baker family subsequently came to live at Kilgin.
Married in 1875 at Woodburn by the Rev.Daniel
Blue (Presbyterian), Mr. and
Mrs. Johnson, went to Wyangarie Station, Kyogle
district, owned by the late Mr.W. C. Bundock,. Mr Johnson working as
a stockman. There were many blacks in the district some he employed
as station hands, and when Mrs. Johnson arrived the almost terrified
her by crowding round fingering her dress. Mrs. Johnson's sweet
nature and acts of kindness. soon won their friendship and they
affectionately called her "White Mary"
FROCKS FOR LUBRAS
Race meetings were very popular in those days
and on one occasion Mrs. Johnson
made up a roll of bright material into race
frocks for the lubras. In return they would help her with her house
work and later were delighted to mind Mr. and Mrs. Johnson's first
son now Samuel Johnson. of Murwillumbah. They could chat to the
child , and Samuel later was able to talk to them almost in thier
Mr. John Thomas Johnson had had considerable
experience with the blacks earlier
when cedar-getting at Hanging Rock and Terania
Creek, and he often would tell how they enjoyed their meal of carpet
snake and white wood grub .
Mr. and Mrs Johnson returned to Kilgin after
three years at Wyangarie
Mr. Henry Baker
5 lines are totaly illegible)
Pioneering in the real
sense was experienced in 1886, when the family removed to
Byron Creek (now Binna
Burra) where Mr. Johnson had taken up land in 1883. Mr. Johnson and
son Sam came by horse and cart to Lismore, Mrs. Johnson and younger
members of the family going by steamer, and from Lismore all
proceeded via the cart . The cart could not be taken over Wilson's
Creek at Springvale, which was reached at dark . Mr. Johnson took of
his boots and carried his wife and members of his family and
household goods across the stream on his back, several trips to and
fro being necessary. The creek crossed the party proceeded on foot
by the light of a candle in a bottle through dense scrub to the
little cedar house that was to be their home. It was a memorable
So isolated were the
family that visitors were few and it was six months befor Mrs.
Johnson saw another white
woman, the nearest living in the district bieng the late Mrs. John
Gay, Springvale. Later a larger house was built by Mr. Johnson and
it still stands, being ocupied by a Mr. J Lowrie., who purchased the
property. William Baker (Myocum) and Mr. George baker (Tweed Heads)
brothers of Mrs Johnson also selected in the Binna Burra -Springvale
A little home made butter
was made and was sent by kegs to Sydney after being
taken to Ballina on horse
back by the horse track that existed. In the very early years of
Byron Creek there was insufficient pasture to keep a horse, and Mr.
Johnson had to walk over 20 miles to and from Ballina. The butter
bought only 2d and 3d a ld.. but it helped to eke out the ladder,
which was supplemented by Turkey, wild pigeon, and paddy melon,
which abouned in the scrub. Paddy melon soup was often on the menu.
A few fowls were kept, providing eggs which were sometimes used at
home, and sometimes taken to Ballina to be sold at 3d or 4d a dozen.
Pigs were also taken to Ballina and on one occasion Mr. Johnson and
Sam spent the whole day recovering swine which had taken to the bush
after crossing Byron Creek en route to market.
Ministers of religion
visited the sparsley settled parts occasionaly and always made
their headquarters at the
Johnson home. They included the Rev. Hines, Rev Gauntet and Rev.
Dodd. This attatchment to the Church remained with Mrs. Johnson
throughout her life and reference to her christian life was made by
Rev. Cannon Gerry at a memorial service in St . Paul's Church of
England.,Byron Bay on sunday night last.
Leaving Binna -Burra in
1902, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and family resided at
Mullumbimby untill 1907 then for two years at "Chev n,"
McLoyds Shoot., until they went to live at Byron Bay in 1909.
finally retiring to live in the town,
The late Mrs. Johnson's
mother the late Mrs. Samuel Baker. who died at
Woodburn over 60 years
ago, provide the direct link with the notorious days of child labour
in England. When only four years of age,the late Mrs. Baker (the
then Lucy Noakes) was put to work in a cotton spinning factory.
kept by Mr. Johnson until his death were several (next
lines are unreadable)
One show man performed the William Tell trick with a rifle. He would
place his small son against a wall with a penny on his head, and
then he would send the penny flying with a bullet. The display so
affected Mrs. Johnson that later, when the show man became a little
unsteady owing to some liberal imbiding, she implored her husband to
get him to desist from shooting. Finally this was done with for a
money consideration, and Mrs. Johnson was given the twisted and
smashed pennies as souviners
The late Mrs. Johnson was
laid to rest in Byron Bay Cemetery along side her late husband.
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