Arthur Rookwood
Elizabeth Rookwood
Thirza Rookwood
William Rookwood
Ada Frances Rookwood
George William Rookwood

Arthur Rookwood
, the son of William and Sarah (née Bishop) Rookwood, was living at 36 Soho St, Salford, Lancashire, when the 1881 English census was taken. In residence with him on that occasion were his first wife ElizabethForshaw—the daughter of Peter (a dealer) and Mary (née Potts) Forshaw—whom he had married at Newton Heath, Manchester, in 1878, their infant son William, and James Horsham (an 11-year-old ‘scholar’) who is listed as a ‘visitor’. With the exception of Arthur, whose birthplace is given as Wymondham, Norfolk, all the other members of the household were born in Manchester, Lancashire. Wymondham is about 9 miles south-west of Norwich.

Two more children were added to the family before they decided to emigrate from Norfolk to Australia. The Rookwoods—Arthur (34), Elizabeth (35), William (6), Thirza (4) and Arthur Jr (an infant)—presented themselves at Gravesend on 3 May 1887 and boarded the 2500-ton Black Ball ship, Roma (Captain AA Fyfe), as remittance passengers. The ship, which had left the Royal Albert Dock on the previous day, set sail at 5 p.m. with 402 immigrants and 20 saloon passengers on board. Two weeks later it the entered the Suez Canal and proceeded to Brisbane via Batavia and Queensland’s northern ports. There was only one birth en route and, mercifully, no deaths.

The Roma anchored in the Brisbane Roadstead early on the morning of Tuesday, 28 June 1887, and was assisted up the river on the afternoon tide by the Boko which landed the remaining 285 immigrants at Gibbs, Bright and Co.’s Kangaroo Point Wharf, preparatory to their being transferred to the Immigration Depot.

Arthur (a bricklayer) and Elizabeth settled in Longden Street, Cooper’s Plains, where three more children were born to them: Lily (b. 25 February 1888), Amy (b. 11 February 1890) and Elizabeth (20 December 1891).

Elizabeth Rookwood , the first wife of Arthur Sr, died aged 52 on 25 September 1903 at Cooper’s Plains and was laid to rest in the Cooper's Plains Cemetery on the following day. The graveside service was conducted by the Reverend DF Mitchell of the Presbyterian Church in the presence of Alfred Cannon (undertaker) and John Bruce and Henry Charles Love (witnesses).

About two years after Elizabeth’s death Arthur Rookwood Sr remarried. His second wife was the twice-widowed Susan McDougall, the daughter of John and Annie (née Miller) Anderson. The wedding took place at Sandgate on 8 December 1905. There were no children of this marriage.


A few details about Susan’s background may be pertinent at this point. At the age of 20 she  married John Scott at in St Ninian’s Cathedral, Dunblane, Scotland, on 14 July 1874. She and her then husband (both aged 28) and their surviving children John (4) and Anna (2) emigrated to Australia as free passengers on the recently launched 2123-ton British India Company steamship Anglo Indian (Captain Charles H Hillcoat). The ship left Glasgow on 6 July 1883 and, after calling at Queensland’s northern ports, sailed up the Brisbane River without the assistance of a tug on 2 October 1883.

The Scotts, who had disembarked in Mackay, welcomed another child to their family soon after their arrival in Australia—Robert Anderson Scott, born on 1 November 1883. He is almost certainly the person of that name who died on 21 August 1963 and was cremated on the following day.

A child born en route on 19 August 1883 to the Lawrence family was named Charles Hillcoat Lawrence after the captain. His parents and siblings—George (32), Ann (28, née Anderson), Jessie (5), Helen (3) and George Jr (1)—disembarked at Brisbane. Sadly, the captain’s wife Hannah, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (née Hague) Jones, died from diphtheria aged 34 on 24 September, a week before journey’s end. Another child, James, was born to George and Ann on 16 July 1885.

Following the death of her first husband on 30 December 1887, Susan Scott married John McDougall in Brisbane on 1 May 1888 and they became the parents of Ernest (b. 17 February 1889; d. 16 May 1933), Ronald Daniel (b. 7 March 1891; d. 30 November 1957), Ellen (b. 20 October 1892) and Jessie (b. 24 January 1895).

Susan Rookwood passed away on 30 December 1919 aged 65 and her remains were taken from her daughter’s residence in Wellington Street, Wooloowin, for burial in the Church of England section of the Lutwyche Cemetery on the following day (mon. 4A 13).

Arthur Rookwood Sr died on 7 July 1934, a few months after the death of his daughter Thirza (see below), and was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery beside his first wife Elizabeth two days later. Present in an official capacity at his interment were: RW Preuss (undertaker, Cannon and Cripps), the Reverend Robert Horn (Baptist minister), and G Dibble and A Thompson (witnesses).

Thirza Rookwood
, the daughter of Arthur and Elizabeth (née Forshaw) Rookwood, was born in Salford, Manchester. Never married, Thirza died in the Brisbane Hospital aged 51 on 25 March 1934 and was laid to rest on the following day in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery. The burial service was conducted by AT Johnson of the Brethren in the presence of HW McDowell (of Cannon and Cripps, undertakers) and G Dibble and J Dunstan (witnesses).

For the record we might include here some details of those of Thirza’s siblings who did marry and whose remains lie elsewhere than in God’s Acre.

Arthur Rookwood Jr married Ida Maude Elms on 11 April 1911. He and his wife were residing in Delph St., Cooper’s Plains, when he died suddenly on 28 June 1942. His remains were committed to the earth in the South Brisbane Cemetery two days later (U 37). Ida Maude, who outlived her husband by many years, was living in the Brisbane suburb of Rosalie, when she passed away at the age of 93 years. She was buried beside Arthur Jr on 18 July 1985.

Wedding photo:
Females L to R: Elizabeth Rookwood, Lilly (Mrs Langusch), Amy (Mrs. Helsdon ).
Men: L to R: Ron McDougall, Arthur Langusch (husband of Lilly), Mr Harry Helsdon (husband of Amy)

Lily Rookwood married Alfred Erich (known as Eric) Langusch, the son of Julius and Henriette (née Korf) Langusch, on 28 May 1912. She died in Maryborough on 31 August 1948. Eric (b. 13 April 1882) passed away on 17 May 1958.

Amy Rookwood married Woodboyn [sic] Henry (Harry) Helsdon, the son of Henry Frederick and Eliza (née Lawrence or Laurence) Helsdon, on 21 October 1914. They were living at Longden Street, Cooper’s Plains when Harry died on 26 December 1953. Amy passed away on 30 January 1955 and was cremated at the Mount Thompson Crematorium to days later.

William Rookwood Sr, the elder son of Arthur and Elizabeth (née Forshaw) Rookwood, married Ada Frances Riley, the daughter of George and Agnes (née Crane) Riley on 26 September 1906. Their daughter Isabel Ada (known as Bel) was born on 19 January 1909; and two weeks later, on 2 February, Ada Frances passed away in the Victoria Private Hospital, South Brisbane, as a result of postnatal complications. The baby was cared for by her sister Florence Riley whom William married on 12 April 1910. Prior to their move to Pomona, William and Florence lived in Cooper’s Plains.

In passing, we may note that the father of the two Riley sisters, George Riley, is also buried in God’s Acre. Also relevant in this connection is that the ashes of the above-mentioned Isabel Ada were deposited there after she was cremated at the Mount Gravatt Crematorium on 4 November 2005. She married Alfred Gamer on 1 December 1934 and died on 29 October 2005 aged 96. For further details refer to the entry under Gamer.

The children of William and Florence’s marriage were as follows: Florence Elizabeth (b. 26 April 1911), George William (b. 29 April 1913; d. 21 October 1913), Hilda Louisa (b. 4 October 1914), Edwin Joseph (b. 28 February 1919) and William Jr (b. 19 February 1921 after his father’s death).

William Rookwood Sr died in the Brisbane Hospital on 22 December1920 and was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on the following day. Present in an official capacity were: William Cannon (undertaker), the Reverend JC Porter of the Church of England, L Stiles and A Goodall (witnesses).

The events leading up to William’s demise are given in this extract from the contribution of his grandson, Wayne Rookwood, to the Johnson-Grantham booklet:

In 1917 William and his family moved to Pomona [166 km north of Brisbane] where he took up his duties as the first Ambulance Superintendent in the Noosa Shire. He was honoured during the 1988 Bicentennial of Pomona for his dedication to the Ambulance Service. William and Florence had another son, Edwin. In 1920, Florence was expecting another child, when, due to an excessive work-load and after pushing a patient on a litter—on foot—from Pomona to Gympie and then back to Pomona, William took ill. He was taken by train to Brisbane where he died within a few days. William Jnr. was born 2 months later.

The following death notice appeared in the Gympie Times::

The death took place on Wednesday evening last of Supt. William Rookwood of the Pomona Ambulance. He leaves a widow in a delicate state of health and four young children. He had been ailing for some time, but his death was quite unexpected to his large number of friends. The district’s sympathy has been extended to his widow and family.

Florence Rookwood continued to live in School Street, Pomona, until her death at the age of 82 on 6 July 1968. At a monthly meeting of the local branch of the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade her continuous support over 50 years was gratefully acknowledged.

Florence’s obituary appeared a week later in the Gympie Times:

The death occurred in the Noosa District Hospital last weekend of Mrs. Florence Rookwood, 82, of School Street, Pomona.

Born in Brisbane, Mrs. Rookwood was formerly Miss Florence Riley, and came to Pomona over 50 years ago, her husband being the first ambulance bearer in the township. Following the death of her husband the family moved into a farm at Black Mountain, and after a few years there moved back to Pomona to live. In her early days, Mrs. Rookwood was a great worker for the ambulance and for the Church of England. She was a member of the Guild for many years, and also assisted many public bodies. With her happy and friendly nature she made many friends and was loved and respected by all. She leaves two sons Ted (Ipswich) and Bill (Pomona)—and two daughters—Belle (Mrs. Gamer) and Miss Hilda Rookwood of Brisbane. There are also 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. One daughter, Florence, pre-deceased her nine years ago [on 29 September 1955]. The funeral took place from the Church of England, Pomona, on Monday, the Reverend I. Lahey officiated.

Ada Frances Rookwood, William’s first wife, was laid to rest in the Cooper's Plains Cemetery  on 3 February 1909. The Reverend Arthur E Bickmore of the Methodist Church conducted the service. Also present, in addition to family and friends, were: William Cannon (undertaker) and, as witnesses to the burial, George Sutherland and QHO 26 Mewing.


George William Rookwood
, the son of William and Florence (née Riley) Rookwood, was born on 29 April 1913 and died in the Victoria Private Hospital, South Brisbane, on 21 October 1913. Present in an official capacity at his burial in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery were: William Cannon (undertaker), the Reverend Robert Miller of the Presbyterian Church, E McDougall and M. Hull (witnesses).

Rookwood Avenue, which runs off Orange Grove Road near the Cooper’s Plains State Primary School, was named after this family.