MR P. HEALY
Burial took place in the Roman Catholic portion of Mullumbimby cemetery following a service in
St John's Church, Mullumbimby. Pallbearers were Messrs John and Daniel Healy (sons) and Ted and Stan Healy,
Rowley Kean and Bob Harrison (nephews).
The death occurred suddenly at her home Brunswick Road, Mullumbimby, late yesterday afternoon of Mrs. Bertha Teresa Healy, at the age of 71 years. A daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Reilly, Mrs. Healy was the first white girl born in the Brunswick district. She resided in the district for the whole of her life. At Mullumbimby she married Mr. D. P. Healy who, with a family of eight sons and two daughters, survive The funeral will take place at Mullumbimby tomorrow after a service in St. John's Roman Catholic Church at 11 o'clock.
OBITUARY (27.12 1953)
Besides her widower, she is survived by two daughters,
Mesdames J. G. Marr (Kathleen), Maitland, and V. J. Akers (Hilda), Coorabell,
and eight sons, Bill (New Brighton), Ted and Harold (Mullumbimby), Pat
(Lismore),Ces. (Wagga), Frank and Stan (Sydney) and Dick Healy(Brisbane)
. Mesdames Devereaux and Halpin (Murwillumbah) and Condon (Sydney) are sisters,
and brothers are Messrs. W. J. Reilly (Brunswick Heads) , H. Reilly (Lismore),
J. Reilly (Southport), T. and D. Reilly (Sydney) and V. Reilly (Kempsey). There
Passing of a Pioneer.
With the passing of Mr. W. J.Reilly on Tuesday, February 6th, an interesting link with the early pioneering days of the Brunswickwas broken; but the name of Reilly is indissolubly bound up with Brunswick's early history, and the hill which takes his name, overlooking the pretty township of Mullumbimby will ever serve as a reminder of one of that noble band of early settlers who blazed the trail, suffering unutterable hardships, and by their indomitable will and perseverance made possible that civilization which we, of a more pampered age, enjoy to day.
The late Mr. Reilly was born in Dublin in 1846, and came to Australia some 50 years ago on the 'Richmond.' In his early youth he followed the occupation of a sailor, and in that capacity made two trips to Brunswick Heads in a sailing vessel in 1872. On the occasion of his first visit there were only three white men at the Heads; and on his second visit twelve months later he met the only white woman there —Mrs. Robert Marshall, who with her husband kept the first hotel at the Brunswick.
Impressed with the potentialities of the Brunswick district Mr. Reilly determined to return, and marrying in Sydney in 1880, he carried out his intention by returning with his wife (then only a girl of nineteen) and a baby in 1881. As an instance of the grit and courage of the early settlers, Mr. Reilly when landing at the Brunswick (having with his family travelled per pack horses from Ballina along the beach) had to tramp alone all the way to Murwillumbah in order to select, spending the last shilling he was possessed of in order to do so. The first selection was a small one of 40 acres, adjoining the town ship of Mullumbimby on the site now known as Reilly's Hill but as time went on and as fast as funds would permit, he made further selections. The first home was a slab hut built on the bank of the river near the old crossing, just opposite the site on which Mr. Basil Kirke's home now stands. Many interesting and exciting incidents have been related by both Mr. and Mrs. Reilly of adventures with blacks, snakes, and other reptiles; Mrs. Reilly doing her share of brushing and falling in the clearing for their homestead. Mrs. Dan Healy, their eldest daughter, had the distinction of being the first white girl born on the Main Arm. Mr. Reilly at that time made his living by scrub falling. About 32 years ago he selected some two hundred acres at Main Arm. There was no road, only bullock tracks, and as giving some idea of the state of the country at that time, it took the bullock teams two whole days to move up. Arriving at Main Arm another slab hut was built on the spot where Mr. Harry King's fine home now stands.
Times were very bad at that period though, and many a time for a week at a stretch their sole diet consisted of nothing but pumpkin and corn — floods cutting off all communication with the township — then at Brunswick Heads .Owing to the bad times, augmented by ill health, Mr. Reilly was forced to sell his Main Arm selection, which extended from Mr. Harry King's place right up to and including the present Soldiers' Settlement. The late Mr Thos King acquiring the property for the trifling sum of 25s per acre; but 'As bread cast upon the waters,' a small portion of this has returned to the Reilly family — Mr.Reilly's son, Harry, a returned soldier, now residing on one of the settlements.
idea of the lonely lives of these pioneers, more especially the women, may be
conceived by the following: — At one period of their existence on the Main Arm
during the time that Mullumbimby township was being formed, Mrs Reilly only paid one visit to 'town' in six years.After selling the Main Arm selection Mr. Reilly with his family (which had multiplied, considerably) moved back to the old home on Reilly's Hill, twenty six years ago, and there lived until some seven and a half years ago, when owing to feeble health he came to live in town; but like most men who had lived very active lives, he was not content to sit in idleness, and gardening, always one of his hobbies, then came in for a good deal of attention — a number of experiments being made in the culture of various tropical products. Only recently when an American expert on cotton growing lectured in Mullumbimby, the late Mr. Reilly submitted a sample of cotton grown by him in his garden, and was informed that it was equal to the best cotton of that particular variety grown in America.
Mr. Reilly was a type of citizen that any growing town could well do with more. Not a single progressive move was made that he was not prominently connected with, and with the broad nature that characterised so many of our early settlers, sectarianism found no part. Did a new clergyman come to the town, no matter what his creed, the late Mr. W. J. Reilly was ever one of the first to extend to him a welcome to the town. The late gentleman was one of the most enthusiastic workers of the old Progress Association, and many years ago was instrumental in obtaining the services of one of the Government Works Engineers to report on a system of hydro-electricity for Mullumbimby, the power to be drawn from Wilson's Creek — a scheme which at the present time is being considered by the present Municipal Council.
The late Mr. Reilly was one of Mullumbimby's first aldermen, and a member of the first Agricultural Society's Committee. In feable health for some time, his health gave way altogether in November, and he succumbed as stated last week, on Tuesday night, February 6th. The funeral which left St. John's Church for the R. C. cemetery on Wednesday was largely attended. The flag at the Council Chambers was flown at half mast, as was the flag at the Public School and where as a mark of respect to the deceased pioneer the senior scholars were lined up along the road as the funeral passed.
The deceased is survived by a widow, and eleven children (two children having predeceased him). They are Messrs William Reilly (Billinudgel), Thomas and Daniel (Sydney), James (Queensland), Harry (Main Arm), and Joseph and Vincent (Mullumbimby). Mesdames D. Healy (Brunswick Road), M. Condon (Mullumbimby), J. Devereux (Burringbar), and Miss Alesia Reilly (Mullumbimby). There are also twenty one grand-children.
The funeral took place in the Catholic portion of the Mullumbimby cemetery yesterday afternoon. There was a large and representative gathering at the graveside. The service was conducted by the Rev. Father Williams, of Mullumbimby, who feelingly referred to many qualities of the deceased, both as a citizen and as a member of the Catholic Church.