Thomas KIRSOP was born around 1782/1785 to unknown parents at Consett. He was a joiner. He married Isabel ROBSON on 25 January 1808 in Shotley Bridge, Northumberland, England. We had 7 children. In 1841 and in 1851 Thomas was residing at Snow's Green Benfieldside, Durham and was an agricultural labourer. In 1861, Thomas was living with his daughter Judith at Wood Street, Shotley Bridge and he was a Pauper. Sadly Thomas departed this life in 1866 at Shotley Bridge from old age having lived 86 years.

Thomas & Isabel's children were:

1.1. Mary KIRSOP who was christened on 16 October 1808 at Shotley Bridge.

1.2. George KIRSOP who was christened on 28 April 1811 at Shotley Bridge.

1.3. Thomas KIRSOP who was born on 19 April 1812 at Whittonstall, Northumberland.

1.4. Henry KIRSOP who was christened on 18 June 1815 at Whittonstall.

1.5. Ralph KIRSOP  was born in 1817 at the High Shield in the Parish of Bywell St Peters, Northumberland and christened on the 14th September 1817 at Whittonstall, Northumberland. In 1841, he was working as a miner and was living wit

h his parents at Snow's Green, Benfieldside, Durham. He married Elizabeth BATEY daughter of John BATEY of Shotley, 

Northumberland at St Nicholas Church, Newcastle Upon Tyne on the 30th September 1844. In 1851, he was working as a coal miner and living at Snow's Green, Benfieldside just 4 houses from his parents and 3 from his sister Judith. In 1861, Ralph and his family were living at Pike Cottages, Pontop Pike, Durham, England. In 1871, Ralph was still working as a coal

miner and resided at North Pit, Collierley. In 1881, Ralph was still working in the coal mines and he lived at Success Pit, Collierley. Ralph died in the September Quarter 1906 aged 89. It's hard to believe he could have worked in mines for 40 years and still made it to 89. We all need an ancestor like Ralph. 

St Nicholas Church, Newcastle Upon Tyne

To find about the history of Durham Mining. In the Image collection, search for Pontop then select the surface workers and have a look at the old man on the right, could this be Ralph? Compare with his son John George's photo.

    Ralph and Elizabeths's children were:

    1.5.1. Isabella KIRSOP was born 1845 at Medomsley, Durham and christened on the 30th March 1845 and married in 6 June1868 at Collierley to William ARMSTRONG and had 6 children.

    1.5.2. Thomas KIRSOP was born abt 1846 and was christened on the 10th January 1847 at Medomsley. Thomas died in April 1862 aged 16. He lived at Pontop Pike and was buried in the Collierley Chapel, Lanchester, Durham on the 18th April 1862.

    1.5.3. John George KIRSOP was born on the 18th December 1842 at 432 Leadgate, Iveston, Durham.
 supposedly had 16 or 17 brothers and sisters. In 1851, John George was living with his parents at Snow's Green, Benfieldside. In 1861, John was living with his parents at Pike Cottages, Collierly & Pontop, Durham and was employed as a coalminer. In 1871, John was still living with his parents at North Pit, Collierley where he was employed as a coalminer. He was married to Catherine LEATHEARD on the 15th June 1872 at the Registry Office, Durham. John was a Coal Miner and both he and Catherine were residing at East Castle, Lanchester. The witnesses were Thomas LEATHEARD and Elizabeth Jane HATTOMS. The marriage was just in the nick of time as their first daughter Elizabeth was born 5 days later on the 20th June. Tragically several months later she died. At the age of 27, John George KIRSOP former miner and his wife, Catherine,23 with their two children John George, 3 and Elizabeth Hannah, 1 sailed from London on the 10th May 1876 and arrived in Brisbane  on the 15th August 1876 abo

ard the barque "Dilharee", capacity 1293 tons. Her captain was Robert McNEILLY. Also on board was Catherine's brother, Robert LEATHEARD and family. There were 327 passengers aboard. On the 15th August 1876, Archibald ANDERSON, Geo P. JACQUES and David SINGLAND were charged with endangering the ship "Dilharee" on the 15th July by being in the hold with a naked light. The men were sentenced to four months imprisonment with hard labour. Previously the ship had made a trip to New Zealand in 1874 and 1875. The "Dilharee" met its demise in 1880 when it sank off Long Island, Washington, USA.

Up until 1915 - 1916 John George and his family were living at Spring Bluff. His hut with a blue chimney still stands between Murphy's Creek and Spring Bluff about 7 miles from Toowoomba. Thought to be over 100 years old, it is situated on Portion 290 in the Parish of Taylor. The Kirsop's house in the 1930's had a bare verandah and is thought to be made of ironbark or cedar timber. It consisted of four rooms, a lounge and dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen and pantry. The farmhouse on the Toowoomba side is McCORMACK'S. George McCORMACK was a close friend of John George KIRSOP. Neighbours on the opposite side of the road were the SAVAGES, GREGSONS, Miss CAMPBELL and Hugh CAMPBELL and the LORDS. Polly and Mary McKEE lived on the other side of the KIRSOPS with the SULLIVANS further up the road. Mr. SULLIVAN was a ganger on the railway.

Kirsop Family Home, QLD

John George was also employed by the Queensland Railways as a labourer ganger. In his spare time, John George was an amateur gemologist who went as far as Tenterfield prospecting. He also showed great dexterity and patience in crafting violins. His last but not completed violin remains with a young descendant in Newcastle, NSW. The Kirsops were a musical family and daughter Gladys remembered the snakes of Sping Bluff, how they used to be in the rafters and one got into the back of the organ and the girls steered clear of it.

The Last Violin- A work in Progress

John George and Catherine were blessed with 10 children, 6 girls and 4 boys. His children attended the Murphy's Creek State School and later the Highfields State School in 1882 after John George Snr had an argument with the teacher. Whether his children appreciated this or not as they then had to go by horse up the Toowoomba Range and back down in what at times must have been very treacherous conditions.

Sadly his wife Catherine predeceased him on the 7th November, 1909 at St Denis Hospital, Toowoomba after a painful battle with gallstones, cholangitis, diaphragmatic abcess and exhaustion. The funeral left Toowoomba Railway Station for the Murphy's Creek Railway Station and for one last time passed by the now infamous Spring Bluff Railway Station. Catherine was laid to rest in the Murphy's Creek cemetery which stands on a wind blown plain. For more information on Catherine's family follow the Leatheard link.

In 1918, John George moved to Newcastle where he lived for another 10 years. He owned his house at 82 Gosford Road, Hamilton West. Prior to his death at Newcastle Hospital from Acute Oedema Glottis ( a nice name for choking on a piece of toast) and Myocarditis on the 19th June 1929. Previously he was cared for at his home by his daughter Gladys and family. His grand daughter Doris remembered him as having a pointed grey beard down to his waist. He also loved to sing songs to his grandchildren and spoke with a broad accent. His last train trip was from Adamstown Station to Sandgate Station at 1.10 o'clock on the 21st June 1929 and he was laid to rest in the Church of England Section of Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle, NSW. He had lived a good 80 years and 183 days.

John George ex railway employee bequeathed his real and personal property to his daughter Gladys Irene SUTTON, which was worth three hundred and twenty four pounds, nine shillings and sixpence. 

John George was proud of his Geordie Ancestry.

        John and Charlotte's children were:
 Elizabeth KIRSOP who was born on the 20 Jun 1872 in Durham and died in 1872 in Durham. John George KIRSOP was born on the 6th August 1873 in Durham. He journeyed to Australia with his parents on board the "Dilharee". As a three year old he would have found sailing on a ship an adventure. John George Kirsop known as Uncle Jack believed in keeping in contact with his brothers and sisters. So after a 5000 pound win in the lottery he thought he would share the information with his sisters at Grantham in Queensland. So he set off on his bike from Newcastle in New South Wales. For whatever reason possessed him, the stash of money in the tin obviously weighing a bit, Jack decided to offload his fortune by burying it underneath a tree near Tenterfield and marking the tree. He came undone when he couldn't find the tree on his return trip. So if you have a metal detector, a map of the old roads around Tenterfield and a shovel, your fortune may be awaiting you. 

Uncle Jack was the dead spit of his father. He used to ride a Royal Enfield bike and carried a wooden box with brass corners. More than once he rode his motor bike from Newcastle to Toowoomba. He worked as a jack of all trades at the Waratah Mater Hospital. Jack's house was a small cottage on a long block of land which he built by himself bit by bit and had no electric power. Uncle Jack is remembered as quite a character, tramping around the bush barefoot. Keen on photography, he had an American camera and he used to colour his own photographs. Jack used to tell funny old stories, played cards and used to sing "Temptden was dead". One night he threw hot water out and scalded his cat consequently all the cat's fur fell out. Late in life Jack gave up his bachelorhood and married Lottie (Charlotte Haines) a New Zealander in 1942. Lottie predeceased Jack the year before. John George Kirsop Jnr died on the 19th August 1954 and was buried on the 21st August 1954 aged 81 years at Toronto Cemetery.  Jack's property was left to a woman who lived across the road. 

   Elizabeth Hannah KIRSOP  was born on the 6th May 1875, . Elizabeth Hannah emigrated to Queensland with her parents on the "Dilharee" at the age of 1 year. She married William (Willie) BOWDEN on the 25 May 1933. Willie was born on the 28th July 1876 to William BOWDEN & Sarah GAWN. Willie never said much about his family had sisters Agnes Anne (b.20 Oct 1871), Sarah Margaret (b.24 Dec 1872), Alice Sarah (b.11 Jul 1874),Hessie Jane (b.14 Jan 1881) and Edith Maggie (b.14 Dec 1883). Willie was about 6'6". He used to smoke a pipe, rolled his own tobacco and enjoyed a pint of beer. From 1914 to about 1940, the couple lived in a warders cottage at Stewart Creek, Townsville. Willie's live as a prison warder is covered on his own page. In the forties, Willie was transferred to Boggo Road. They may have moved to Rockhampton before residing at 126 Cornwall Street, Thompson Estate, Brisbane. The house had a sleepout, hallway, breakfast room, lounge, kitchen, 3 bedroooms and a bathroom. The house was lower at the front and higher at the back and was painted white. Liz was a stout matronly lady who was more like a grandmother than an Aunty. Liz sewed using a sewing machine and used to make things for birthdays and Christmas. She would send parcels to the Morley's- Socks for William, Material for May to make clothes, pants and petticoats. She also sent knitting wools and knitted cardigans when her neices were small. She was the only relative that kept in close contact with Catherine May. They may have lived in Rockhampton for a short time. Elizabeth was a good cook remembered for her cakes and scones. She always had her house throughly tidy and was fastidious. She wrote many letters. Her and Willie were a happy couple, very homey and lived for each other. Elizabeth attended church across the road and used to catch a tram to the City. She did her clothes shopping at a draper called Stewart's and she bought her groceries in Ipswich Road. 

William was cremated on the 17th January, 1950 aged 73 years and his wife Elizabeth Hannah took the ashes in a copper urn with her. Elizabeth then moved to Ma Ma Creek to live with her sister Lot (Charlotte). Elizabeth passed away on the 6th November, 1957 aged 83 years. She is buried in the Ma Ma Creek Anglican Cemetery. Her headstone refers us to read St John the 14th Chapter.


                    Willie BOWDEN and Mrs SULLIVAN



William BOWDEN

Willie BOWDEN -Stewart's Creek, Townsville

Elizabeth BOWDEN (nee KIRSOP)

 Elizabeth BOWDEN (nee KIRSOP)- Stewart's Creek, Townsville

Elizabeth BOWDEN (nee KIRSOP)

 Elizabeth BOWDEN (nee KIRSOP)- Stewart's Creek, Townsville

William & Elizabeth BOWDEN's house Stewart's Creek

 Elizabeth BOWDEN (nee KIRSOP)- Stewart's Creek, Townsville

Hessie and William BOWDEN with Neil UPTON

Hessie BOWDEN, William BOWDEN
& Neil UPTON

   Charlotte KIRSOP was born on the 17th December 1878 in Queensland. She was a student at Highfields State School in 1885. She had a son Neil Raymond KIRSOPP on the 8th June 1900. At the age of 30, her mother passed on. She married Robert John WRIGHT on the 4th August 1913. In 1929 her father passed on. She lived near Grantham at Mt Whitestone where she was a very hard worker looking after fowls and pigs while Neil looked after the cows. She was making cups of teas and meals at all hours and refused help. Her nephew Ron KIRSOP spent some months there when he left school when the depression was on. Charlotte died 21st December 1967 and she was buried at Ma Ma Creek Cemetery. Her neice Doris used to visit Aunt Lot and Cousin Neil who would pick them up at Gatton Railway Station and drive them in a horse and sulky to Mount Whitestone. Aunt Lot baked peanuts which she grew and she made delicious coconut ice. Neil taught Doris how to use a rifle. Doris enjoyed being one of the boys playing with frogs and climbing trees.

Her son Neil died according to a report in the "Toowoomba Chronicle", Thursday, November 18, 1982 when fire destroyed his caravan parked in Dry Gully Road. His body was found near the entrance to the caravan. He was buried in Ma Ma Creek Cemetery on Friday the 19th November, 1982.

Tea Party

The Tea Party- Neil KIRSOPP, Charlotte WRIGHT, Willie BOWDEN

Charlotte WRIGHT (nee KIRSOP)Charlotte WRIGHT Headstone

Neil KIRSOPPNeil KIRSOP Headstone

   William Henry KIRSOP was born on the 10th February 1881 but the family bible says the 6th. He died on the 14th April 1962 in Newton, NSW.

   Thomas KIRSOP was born on the 1st  June 1883 at Murphy's Creek, Queensland. He was a Railway Employee, Caretaker  and Steel Worker. He married  Ada SUTTON (1894 - 1939). Thomas died in 1959 at Hamilton, NSW and was buried on the 3rd July 1959 in the  Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle in the Salvation Army section.

   Ralph KIRSOP was born on the 10th  September 1885 at Murphy's Creek, Queensland. He was a  Railway Station Master and  Porter with Queensland Railways. He married Lillian WILSHIRE (18891-1984). Ralph was died on the 29th May 1973 at Toowoomba, QLD, Aust and was buried on the 30th May 1973 at Toowoomba Cemetery.

   Mary Isabel KIRSOP was born on the 5th October 1887 at Toowoomba. She married Ernest Clement WATERMAN (1892-1982) . She died on the 12th March 1968 at the District Hospital, Yeppoon, Queensland.

   Gladys Irene KIRSOP was born on the 16th March 1890 at Spring Bluff, Queensland. She married George Edwin SUTTON ( 1892-1971). She died on the 24th February 1970 at Mayfield, New South Wales. She was buried in the Anglican section of Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle.
    Catherine May KIRSOP was born on the 12th May 1893 at Spring Bluff, Queensland. She married William MORLEY (1895-1973). She died on the 22nd July 1967 at Mayfield, New South Wales. She was buried in the Anglican section of Sandgate Cemetery, Newcastle.   

Gladys and Catherine KIRSOP


1. Queensland State Archives, Water Police Court, Brisbane. Deposition and Minute Book 14 Feb 1874-26 July 1878.

    1.5.4. Ralph KIRSOP was born in 1850 at Snow's Green, Benfieldside, Durham and married in the Sept Qtr 1874 to Barbara Ann WRIGHT and had two children.

Elizabeth Hannah KIRSOP was born March Quarter 1853 at Lancaster, Durham and was residing with her parents in 1861.

    1.5.6. Mary KIRSOP was born in 1855 at Snow's Green Benfieldside, Durham and married William BENSON and had at least 2 children.

    1.5.7. Judith KIRSOP was born in 1860 at Lancaster, Durham and was residing with her parents in 1861. She died in 1867 at Pontop and was buried on the 11th Feburary 1867 at Collierley Chapel, Durham.

1.6. Isabella KIRSOP was born about 1822.

1.7. Judith KIRSOP was born about 1825.


1. St Nicholas, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland (1845) from Old England: A Pictorial Musem of Regal, Ecclesiastical, Baronial, municipal and Popular Antiquities. London, Charles Knight and Co., Ludgate Street, First Edition, 1845, two volumes, folio, pp. viii, 392; vi, 386, 24 chromoxylographs (incl. frontis.). Many wood-engraved text illustrations.

Photographs Courtesy CB and KS

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