The writer acknowledges the assistance of Leslie and
Rita Bagust in the preparation of the following
the son of Archibald (a farmer) and Janet (née Hunter)
Banks, was born, according to his death certificate, in
‘Dudston, Edinton, Scotland’, about 1808. He married
Mary Finnie at Inveresk, Midlothian, Scotland, on 22
June 1827 (IGI).
When the census was taken in Scotland on the evening of
6 June 1841, the Banks household in Longniddry, East
Lothian, was made up of: Archibald (30, more likely 33,
an agricultural labourer), Mary (30), Janet (13, bap. 1
June 1828), Isabella (11), Mary (9), Thomas (3) and
Archibald (9 months). Another son, James Horsburgh
Banks, was added to the family about three years later.
Archibald was a widower when he married Helen Tait,
the daughter of William (a weaver) and Ellen (née
Grieve) Tait, in Gladsmuir, East Lothian, on 17 December
1847. Helen hailed from Peebleshire, the most northerly
of the border counties in Scotland. After the death of
their parents and their firstborn child (Helen, bap. 18
November 1848), they migrated to Australia on the
1133-ton John Davies (Captain Richard Hughes).
With about 400 government immigrants on board, the ship
left Liverpool on or about 5 January 1855 and arrived in
Moreton Bay on 3 or 4 May 1855. There were 8 births and
7 deaths during the voyage.
After the arrival of the ship one passenger, William
Geary, was charged with riotous and disorderly conduct
en route. He appeared in court before James Leith Hay
and Henry Buckley. On the evidence of the
surgeon-superintendent John James Evans and a number of
the passengers, he was found guilty, fined £1 with £4 8s
2d costs and jailed for a week.
Accompanying Archibald and Helen were five surviving
children by his first marriage and two by his second—all
of them born or baptised in the civil parish of
Gladsmuir. Shipping records list them as follows: Jessie
(26), Mary (22), Thomas (17), Archibald Jr (13), James
Horsburgh (10), William (5),
and Robert (2). All members of the family are listed as
Presbyterians; and the occupations of the three older
children are given as follows: Jessie and Mary (domestic
servants) and Thomas (farm labourer).
In view of the lack of any later relevant reference to a
Jessie Banks in Australian records, it is this
researcher’s belief that she may have been the same
person as the daughter who was born to Archibald Banks
and Mary Finnie and who was christened Janet (after her
paternal grandmother) at Newton, Midlothian, on 1 June
1828. This suggestion is consistent with the ages given
for Janet and Jessie above.
Archibald Sr’s death certificate also mentions an older
daughter, Isabella (b. about 1831), who may have married
before her father’s departure for Australia and may have
remained in Scotland.
The tragic death of William Banks, one of the
above children, was reported in the Brisbane Courier
in January 1876. He had been working as a farm labourer
on Doyle’s Kildare Farm at Veresdale about 10 km north
of Beaudesert which is about 70 km west of Brisbane on
the Mount Lindesay Highway. The following is the
newspaper account of the tragedy:
This week we have to record the death of a young man, of
the name of William Banks. While returning from his
Christmas visit to Brisbane to his place upon the Logan,
it appears that his horse ran him against a tree. Death
must have been instantaneous, as his neck was broken,
and other parts of his body were much bruised. He was
found by the roadside by a passer-by [Thomas Maguire, a
farmer], about seven in the evening [of 2 January]. Mr.
Durall, of Bromelton [about 7 km west of Beaudesert],
attended at 5 a.m. next day, when the body was removed
to his brother’s [James’s?] place. Deceased was much
respected in the district, which could be seen by the
number attending the funeral, notwithstanding the short
time allowed. Over 100 people followed him to his
resting place at Woodhill, at 4 p.m. same day.
An inquest was held in Beenleigh on 3 January 1876 at
which submissions were taken from Thomas Maguire,
William Marshall (a farm labourer from Brisbane) and
John Doyle (son of the owner of the Kildare Farm).
Archibald Banks, William’s father, also had a serious
accident. He had the misfortune to fall from a cart and
fracture his spine while working on his own farm. He
died from the resultant paralysis at his residence,
‘Sunnyside’, Cooper’s Plains, aged 76, on New Year’s Day
1885 and was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on
the following day. The Reverend James Samuel Hassall,
the first native-born clergyman of the Church of England
in Australia, officiated at the graveside. Thomas Freney,
a very early settler in ‘Cowper’s Plains’, and William
Malcolm Orr Murray were the official witnesses.
Given the fact that the names ‘Tait’ and ‘Banks’ appear
among the given names of William Malcolm Orr Murray’s
children, there would appear to be some connection
between the two families. There are two Murray children
buried in God’s Acre¾Robert Murray
and Rose Hannah Murray. For more details about William
Malcolm Orr Murray, see the entry under their names.
Six of Archibald’s children, three sons and three
daughters, predeceased him. Those who were alive at the
time of his death were: Isabella (aged 54), Thomas (47;
d. 15 September 1908), Archibald (44; d. 2 September
1917), James Horsburgh (41; d. 10 October 1904) and Jane
Wilson (30) who
was born on 11 October 1855 at Logan Bridge about five
months after the family’s arrival in Australia. She died
at Mt Crosby on Brisbane’s western outskirts on 6 May
Helen Banks, survived by her daughter Jane Wilson
Williams, passed away at the age of 79 on 22 July 1899
at the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum (Stradbroke Island) to
which she had been admitted on 29 January 1896. Her
remains were interred in the cemetery there on the
following day in the presence of witnesses Phil P Agnes
and W Osborne.