This headstone was relocated to this site from its original position from the banks of the Hawkesbury River on the 5 December 1960 by the Hawkesbury Historical Society.
Church of England, now Anglican. Comes under the Wilberforce
Macquarie School House at St
Above: Grave of the Howorth's located
at the side of the Macquarie School House.
Extract from the Sydney Gazette
and New South Wales Advertiser. Sunday, October 21, 1804:
"The following are the particulars of the unfortunate
circumstances attending the death of the child at Hawkesbury last
Monday se'nnight in consequence of the bite of a snake. Two sons
of Mr. John Howorth, settler, went together among some standing
and fallen timber, to look after a small flock. The eldest boy,
sitting near a large tree in which three apertures had been cut
for the purpose of searching after the bandycoot, unhappily
stretched on of his arms within the hollow, and suddenly
withdrawing it much terrified, acquainted his brother that he had
received a bite from a black snake. The poor little fellow,
conscious of his danger, with an air of despondency remarked that
he should soon die; and complaining of sudden illness, made an
effort to return homeward. But his faculties yielding to irresistible
lethargy and stapor, he lost his way before he had proceeded many
paces, and was observed by a neighbouring settler, who enquiring
what ailed him, received in a feeble tone the information of his
illness, but without assigning any cause of complaint. The good
man took him into his house, and lay him on his bed. The parents
were made acquainted with the state the child was in, and
immediately attended him; but he was then wholly insensible, and
continued so during the short remaining period of his existence.
About four in the afternoon the doleful accident occurred; and at
about the same hour the following morning he expired, to the
extreme regret of his parents, who were totally unacquainted with
the cause of his death until after the event had taken place; when
the other disclosed the above circumstance, and the body being
examined, a wound appeared upon the left arm, thro' which the
noxious viper had poured the contaminating fluid.
Extract from the Sydney Gazette
and New South Wales Advertiser. Sunday, February 17, 1805:
stone intended to entomb the relicks of an infant some time since devoted to
an untimely grave by the bite of a snake, was exhibited to public inspection
last week: the sculpture of which, but for the melancholy occasion it
brought to remembrance, must have provoked a smile. Of the poetical part of
the performance, which reflects the highest credit to the literary
talents of Mr. Cornelius Hemmings, known to his contemporaries
by the name of Nobby, the following is an accurate copy.
it was the
subtile surpent's bite he cride
then like A Rose bud cut he drup'd and died
in life his Fathers glorey
and his mothers pride
From this elegant specimen it is obvious that we rapidly
attain the zenith in sepulchral poŽsie; but in the work of
the chissel we beg leave to use the remark of a gentlemen viewing
it, who being informed it was the chef-d'śuvre of a
professed flatue-ary, concived the appellative too long by
the last two syllables."
Extract from page 9 of the
Windsor & Richmond Gazette. Wednesday, Dec 7, 1960:
goodly crowd of interested men, women, and school children,
gathered under a restored John Howorth tombstone unveiled at
Wilberforce on December 5.
They were clustered in a
semi-circle on hallowed ground between St. John's Church of
England and the old schoolhouse, close to the wall of which the
restored sandstone slab was unveiled by Ald. V. W. Gillespie,
Mayor of Windsor Municipality.
Its touching epitaph is
believed to be the earliest known inscription on a headstone in
the district. It reads :
"In memory of John
Howorth, who departed this life Oct. 8. 1804, aged 11 years.
From a subtle surpent's bite he cride; our rosebud cut, he
drup'd his head and died. he was his father's glory and his
It is believed Mr. George
Reeve, who wrote for this paper for many years, re-cut and limed
this tombstone on Mr. Hall's property some 30 years ago.
Cr. R. B. Turnbull (Colo
Shire President), a descendant of one of the Hawkesbury early
pioneers, was chairman for the proceedings.
his remarks, Ald. Gillespie paid tribute to the work of Mr. D. G.
Bowd, as Hawkesbury Historical Society secretary, in historic
matters of the district, one of them being the restoration that
day. Ald. Gillespie thanked, also, the Hall family for allowing
free entrance to their property for its removal, and Mr.
"Bill" McLachlan for careful transport of the ancient
The gathering was invited
to enter St. John's Church to hear brief historical talks by Mr.
Bowd and Mr. MacLeod Morgan.
These provided interesting
commentary on the life of notable pioneers in the Wilberforce
district, the old stone church creating harmonious mellowed
It was good to enjoy
thoughtful reflection on bygone days and people, whose life and
memory have so imbued the present.