A small yellow flower and grass are all that stand over the graves of two young girls, buried behind a Wharf Street boarding house more than 150 years ago. Keith Beavis is now keen to locate their missing tombstone.
A small yellow flower and grass are all that stand over the graves of two young girls, buried behind a Wharf Street boarding house more than 150 years ago. Keith Beavis is now keen to locate their missing tombstone. Jocelyn Watts

On the lookout for a tombstone

IF ANYONE happens to be rummaging through concrete rubble and finds a tombstone inscribed with the surname Uhr, Keith Beavis and Fraser Coast councillor Barbara Hovard want to know.

“It could belong to two young girls, sisters, who died in 1854 and 1863,” Mr Beavis said.

“They’re believed to be the oldest known graves in what is now the CBD area after the town moved from its old site near Baddow.”

Mr Beavis said the Uhr family had owned the entire block of Maryborough land circled by March, Wharf, Richmond and Kent streets and lived in a boarding house next door to his existing home in Wharf Street.

Records show Fanny Augusta Uhr, aged 13 months, died a few days before Christmas in 1854. Her sister, Mary Percy Stanley Uhr, died at the age of 12, nine years later, and was buried alongside Fanny behind the boarding house next to a bunya pine.

Mr Beavis said mystery surrounded the exact location of the graves as they were no longer marked. However, previously unknown information had recently come to light and he believed he now knew the location of the graves and the fate of the tombstone, until 2009.

He said Ken Meyer, the former owner of the Waterside Workers Hall in Wharf Street, had revealed that during the 1930s a fisherman accidentally ran his car into the wrought iron fence surrounding the graves. The fence was removed but the tombstone stayed in place.

The bunya pine is believed to have been removed before 1949.

During the 1950s the tombstone was placed beside the back fence of the Royal Bank of Queensland, now Monsour’s building, to avoid further damage. However, the nearby fish markets were still operating and when a sewer became blocked in 1956, an excavator was brought in to clear it and the tombstone moved again to the back of Mr Meyers’ building where it wouldn’t be damaged.

“Ken bought a large square piece of steel with holes for turning rods and had it sitting on blocks. The tombstone was slid under the block.

“He sold in 2007 and the tombstone was found when the block of steel was moved.

“In 2009 when the block of land sold again the tombstone was put up against a fence in a clean-up ... then disappeared.”

Mr Beavis said he had been to the Maryborough Recycling Centre hoping to find the headstone, without luck.

Councillor Barbara Hovard, who was recently accepted on to the Queensland Heritage Council, said that if found, the tombstone was likely to be placed in a local museum.

Anyone who knows where the tombstone may be can call Mr Beavis on 4121 7718.



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