The 1936 map of the Town of Gundurimba. The blue circle shows where the lot of land has been preserved for graves on the Bruxner Highway.
The 1936 map of the Town of Gundurimba. The blue circle shows where the lot of land has been preserved for graves on the Bruxner Highway. Land and Property Information, N

Little girl who died from snake bite in lonely grave

LAST year I wrote an article about a small, lonely grave by the Bruxner Highway at South Gundurimba and asked people to send in their stories about it.

Read the article here.

I was inundated with phone calls and emails from those who remembered stories about how the grave came to be by itself on the side of the Bruxner Highway.

"My dad told me the grave was the Walker children where the road rises," Marlene Taylor (nee Frohmuller) said.

Kevin Cocciola said his grandfather was born and bred near the tea trees and riverbank, past where the airport is now.

"(He said) the body buried was a girl on their farm at Loftville in the 1860s-70s."

"My mother said it was her brother Eric died of a snake bite," Frank Shipway said.

The consensus among many who remembered stories told to them, agreed it was a little girl.

"(Frank Laverty) had a nine year old daughter who was tragically bitten by a snake, died and was buried in that grave," Mike Evans wrote in an email.

There was a reference to a child dying from snake bite in the newspaper around this time with one small line in the Northern Star in 1895.

"Child died at Gundurimba this week from effects of snake bite."

A search on Births, Deaths and Marriages showed the daughter of Gundurimba pioneer Ludwig Frohmuller, Mary died in 1895.

This was confirmed through a small newspaper article in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner of the same year.

"A little girl, daughter of Mr. Frohmuller, of Gundurimba, was bitten by a snake on Tuesday afternoon," it wrote.

"The child...was suffering from mumps at the time, which in all probability led to the unfavourable change."

The land the little grave is located on is somewhat of an anomaly surrounded by local farms and bordering the Bruxner Highway.

In 1903 this small block known in the government gazette as reservation 36,687 was officially 'reserved from sale pending determination of the portion to be set apart for preservation of graves'.

As late as 1979 the 'preservation of graves' order on the land was still being shown on the regional charting map.

A list from the Richmond River Historical Society shows a number of people were buried in the little plot of land, including Mary Frohmuller, so whether or not the last grave standing is that of the little girl, we may never know for sure.

There has been suggestions of a memorial to be placed on the site, to remember the early pioneers of the area.

References

* 'Odds and Ends', Northern Star, Lismore, Saturday, January 19, 1895. Page 2.

* 'Land District of Lismore', Government Gazette of the state of New South Wales, Saturday, November 14, 1903, P. 8329.

* Births, Deaths, Marriages, NSW (bdm.nsw.gov.au) accessed, February 9, 2017.

* 'Death from Snakebite', Clarence and Richmond Examiner, January 22, 1895, Page 5.



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