William Malcolm Orr Murray,
the son of James and Ann (née McMoran) Murray, was born
in 1831 at East Kilbride—a large town near Glasgow in
South Lanarkshire, Scotland. On 8 April 1853 he married
Sarah Scott, the daughter of Robert (a soldier)
and Ellen (née Laurie) Scott, at Newtownards, a large
town on the Ards Peninsula about 16 km. east of Belfast
in County Down, Ireland. The witnesses to the marriage
were Jane Murray and Robert Doggart. Sarah hailed from
nearby Ballereen. According to the obituary of their son
Robert Tait Murray, William was a British Army sergeant
before his marriage.
Before their decision to
emigrate to Australia William and Sarah became the
parents of at least six children: Ann Jane (b.
Newtownards 30 June 1855; d. Childers 7 November 1936),
Helen (b. Glasgow 29 March 1857; d. Glasgow 6 April
1857), James (b. Sandgate, Kent, May 1858; d. Hodgson,
near Roma, 7 June 1909), Sarah (b. Sandgate, Kent, May
1858; d. 6 February 1931), Agnes Black (b. Bridgeton, a
little to the south-east of Glasgow, 18 June 1861; d.
Glasgow 7 July 1861), William (b. Ireland about 1863; d.
Brisbane 16 March 1874).
William (aged 32), his
wife Sarah (32) and their surviving children—Ann Jane
(8), Sarah (5), James (5) and William (infant)—set sail
from Queenstown (now Cóbh), County Cork, Ireland, on 19
February 1863 on the 1454-ton Black Ball immigrant
vessel Golden Dream (Captain Ellis Griffiths) and
arrived in Brisbane on 28 May 1863. Almost all of the
664 passengers and 8 stowaways on board were Irish; but
there were three (possibly related) Scottish
families—the Murrays, the Orrs and the Rosses. There
were 6 births and 16 deaths en route and one crew
member, John Leary, fell overboard and was drowned. It
should be noted that the infant William’s name does not
appear on the shipping list, perhaps because he was so
The Murrays settled at Cooper’s Plains but later moved
to ‘Telemon’, Beaudesert. For 16 years William worked as
a ganger with the Beaudesert Shire Council. The
following children were born to William and Sarah in
Australia: Mary (5 June 1863; d. 2 July 1910), William
(b. 29 April 1867; d. Beaudesert Hospital 10 August
1950), Robert (b. 29 April 1867; d. 30 April 1867), Rose
Anna (b. 9 May 1869; d. 9 October 1869), Robert Tait (b.
9 May 1869; d. Beaudesert 21 November 1954), Ellen (or
Helen) Tait (b. 29 July 1871; d. 25 December 1902),
Thomas Banks (b. 14 May 1873; d. Margate 11 February
1956), and Hannah Matilda (b. 19 September 1875, known
Two of the above mentioned children—Robert Murray
(d. 30 April 1867) and Rose Anna Murray (d. 9
October 1869)—were laid to rest in what Rose’s death
certificate refers to as ‘Grenier’s burying ground’ and
Robert’s as ‘The Cemetery Cooper’s Plains’. No
undertaker was present at either burial.
William Malcolm Orr Murray
died on 13 December 1906 at Canungra at the age of ‘75
years 8 months 5 days’ and was laid to rest in the local
cemetery two days later. The burial was certified by
James Garrett and officially witnessed by Alfred John
Williams and DJ Smith.
passed away at Pine Creek, Canungra, on 16 July 1916 at
the age of ‘84 years 9 months 14 days’ and was buried
two days later beside her husband.
Matthew Braiden, a Methodist layman, conducted the
service at the interment which was certified by K
Pedersen and officially witnessed by Aitkin Jerome and
Amos Finch—members of two well-known families in the
The following obituary appeared in the Beaudesert
Times after Sarah Murray’s death:
Mrs. Sarah Murray, an old and highly esteemed member of
this community, passed away at Canungra on Sunday, July
16th, at the advanced age of 84 years. She
was a native of County Down, Ireland, and had lived in
Queensland for 54 years. Of a family of nine, six still
live to mourn her loss, as do many grandchildren. In the
old burying ground at Canungra, the aged lady’s remains
now rest beside those of her husband, the late William
Malcolm Orr Murray, who died here about nine years ago.
He was a Queensland pioneer of the old school, and had
been a soldier in early life. The funeral took place on
Tuesday, July 17th, and started from the
residence of Mr. W. Adams [the husband of Mary, Sarah’s
eldest daughter], of Pine Creek, son-in-law of the
deceased lady. The cortege consisted of many vehicles
and horsemen, others joining on the way, to be again
augmented by many of the townspeople at the graveside.
The funeral service was impressively read by Mr. M.
“Easily and quietly she passed away,
As it were in sleep.”