Henry Weeks
Mary Ann Weeks
Richard James Robert Weeks
Henry John Thomas Weeks


Henry Weeks
, the son of John Weeks (a labourer), married Mary Ann King, the daughter of Thomas and Ann (née Gribble) King, in Cockington, Devonshire, on 28 February 1861. At that time Mary Ann was aged 21 and Henry, a widower, was a 28-year-old servant. The Reverend Philip Walter Doyne of the Church of England conducted the service which was witnessed by William Davy and Elizabeth Weeks. In October of that year the bride’s parents and her sister Elizabeth emigrated to Queensland—a step that Henry and Mary Ann, leaving behind their home in Torquay, were themselves to take more than a decade later.

Then aged 42 and 33 respectively, Henry and Mary Ann came to Australia as remittance passengers on the 666-ton clipper barque Gauntlet (Captain WJ Wakeham). The ship set sail from London on 15 August 1873 and dropped anchor at the Bar in Moreton Bay at 5 p.m. on 16 November 1873. According to the Brisbane Courier, 82 passengers were brought up to Brisbane by the little steamer Nowra on the following evening; and the remaining passengers (about 220 in number) were transported to Ipswich by the steamer Settler early on the morning of 18 November.

Travelling with Henry and Mary Ann Weeks were their children: Elizabeth Sarah Ann (b. 9 October 1861, known as Annie; m1. James Sheffield 2 April 1885; m2. George Wilkinson Campbell 23 May 1900; d. 16 February 1956), Henry John Thomas (b. 15 June 1863; d. 26 March 1884), Richard James Robert (b. 22 August 1865; d. 27 February 1884), Adelaide Ellen Augusta (b. 10 March 1869, known as Ellen; m. James Price, son of William and Hannah Price, on 14 May 1892; d. 10 August 1951), and Susannah1 (b. 22 February 1872; d. 16 September 1873) who was one of five passengers who died en route. According to her death certificate, Susannah succumbed to dysentery at Lat. 5 30 N Long. 21 30 W and was buried at sea in the presence of official witnesses, Dr KT Freeman (the Surgeon-Superintendent) and Mr James Bailden.

After their arrival in Australia, the Weeks family, settled in Oxley; and it was there that four more children were born: Susannah2 Thomasin (b. 3 October 1874; m. Elijah Sidney Massey on 29 May 1901; d. 21 July 1954.), Eliza Jane (b. 25 February 1877; m. Julius Frank Behrens 4 September 1895; d. 21 May 1962), Edwin Albert (b. 1 September 1879, known as Jack; m. Edith Quick 18 March 1906; d. 28 April 1955), and Mary Ann Jessie (b. 6 June 1883; m. Frederick William Fredline 19 November 1898; d. 16 August 1972). The Weeks children attended the Oxley State Primary School.

Henry and Mary Ann’s story is told in this passage from the pen of Lona Grantham:

When they first arrived, they resided on 50 acres at the Blunder, Oxley, which was owned by Mary Ann’s father, Thomas King. They helped to farm the property and saw aborigines and corroborees and must have found life very strange to what they had left in England. On 9 May 1888, the property was transferred into the name of Mary Ann Weeks and, on 9 August 1920, the property was transferred to Edith Weeks, the wife of Mary Ann and Henry  Weeks’s son Edwin Albert, known as Jack. About 1874, Henry and Mary Ann, along with their two daughters (and families), bought a farm at Seventeen Mile Rocks, Oxley. This venture did not last long as the daughters’ husbands were not interested in farming, so the farm was sold and each family went its own way. Henry and Mary Ann bought property in Bannerman Street, Oxley, where Henry did a lot of market gardening. He was also a coachman for the big house on Cliveden Avenue, Corinda, which is now Hopetoun Home. He was also a gardener and coachman at ‘Springfield’ which was a big estate on Oxley Road, Oxley. Henry gave each of his daughters a house when they married and the only condition he imposed on them was that they would pay their mother 2/6 per week (25 cents today) for the rest of her life. What an amazing accomplishment for a man who was a milkman, farmer, coachman and gardener!

Henry Weeks died on 12 December 1910 at the age of 84 and was laid to rest in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on 14 December. The Reverend Edward Oerton of the Church of England presided; and the official witnesses were JH Cripps and TG Johnston.

Mary Ann Weeks lived alone after her husband’s death until failing health forced her to move out of the family home to the residence of her daughter Ellen Price. She died in her 86th year on 20 August 1925. Her remains were interred in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery two days later. The Reverend WEC Barrett of the Church of England conducted the service; and the official witnesses to the burial were Tom William Spring and JG Gallein. That she was well known and respected in the district is evident from the following two obituaries that appeared in Brisbane newspapers:

THE LATE MRS. M. A. WEEKS

An old resident and pioneer of the Oxley district, Mrs. Mary Ann Weeks, died in hospital at Oxley last Thursday night. The deceased lady, who was 85 years of age, arrived in Queensland by the sailing ship Gauntlet, in 1873. Both she and her husband were natives of Devon, England. After their arrival in the country, they settled in the Oxley district, and battled bravely against the many hardships confronting the pioneers. Their holding was flooded three times, and in the earlier days of their colonial life the aboriginals were practically their sole companions. The family, which has been highly respected in the Oxley district for over half a century, comprises one son, Mr. E. A. Weeks, Oxley, and five daughters, Mrs. G. Campbell, Mrs. J. Price, and Mrs. J. Fredline, all of Oxley, and Mrs. E. Massey and Mrs. F. Beherns [sic], of Greenslopes. There are also 27 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. The late Mrs. Weeks’ husband predeceased her 15 years ago. Until two years ago she remained in residence at her old homestead, when illness compelled her to undergo medical treatment. Since that time she has been living with her daughters. The funeral took place on Saturday to Cooper’s Plains cemetery.

DEATH OF A PIONEER

The death of a pioneer of Oxley, in Mrs. Mary Ann Weeks, aged 87 [85 is correct] years, relict of the late Mr. Henry Weeks, of Oxley, who died in 1910, occurred recently. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks arrived in Queensland from their native Devon in 1873 by the ship Gauntlet, and they resided in Oxley until the end of their lives. Mr. Weeks in the early days did gardening work, and in his later years was engaged in farming at Seventeen-mile Rocks. They were thrice flooded out, and they had exciting experiences with the blacks. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks were highly respected in the district. Five daughters and one son survive. The daughters are Mrs. G. Campbell (of Oxley), Mrs. J. Price (of Oxley), Mrs. E. S. Massey (Greenslopes), Mrs. F. Behrens (City View Estate), and Mrs. W. Fredline (of Oxley). Mr. E. A. Weeks, the only surviving son, lives at Oxley. Two sons, Richard and Harry, are dead. There are 27 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Weeks lived by herself after her husband’s death until about two years ago, when she suffered a paralytic stroke. After which, she resided with her eldest and then her second daughter.

Richard James Robert Weeks, the son of Henry and Mary Ann Weeks, was employed as a labourer when he contracted typhoid fever. Despite the ministrations of Dr Albert Emmelhainz, he succumbed to his illness on 27 February 1884 and was buried on the following day in ‘Grenier’s Cemetery, Cooper’s Plains’. Assisting at his interment were: William Francis Lyon (undertaker), J Pascoe (lay reader) and Edward Freney and George Donaldson (witnesses).

Barely a month later tragedy struck the family again when Richard’s older brother Henry John Thomas Weeks (also a labourer) passed away from the same illness on 26 March 1884. His burial in ‘Grenier’s Cemetery, Cooper’s Plains’ took place on the same day in the presence of: William Francis Lyon (undertaker), the Reverend James Samuel Hassall (Church of England minister), and Martin Freney and John Cundy (witnesses).