Life seems to settle, for only a moment though

So we are up to the part where Phillippa and Henry have married and he has accepted her son Charley from her previous marriage to James.

August 1867, roughly 13 months after their marriage, their first child Amelia is born, she is named after Henry’s sister back in Menheniot, who unfortunately died a year later, aged 15. Also about this time, the Burra Mine ceased after reaching 183 metres underground. As with most mines, there is only a certain amount to be found at that location and it was only a matter of time before the resources were all dug up.

Henry now being 22 years old had a big priority to find work, not just for his own benefit and survival but for his new family of four. To obtain work though, he had to move on, word was that there was work going over at Kadina in the Cornwall Mine, so this is where the new family lived but only for the next 12 months because unfortunately, the resources dried up there too. Their next move was to be their last, this time to Moonta, only a few miles down the road.

A Genealogists nightmare

Years ago the Burra council thought to clean up the Burra Cemetery and remove all of the old headstones and flatten the graves. The outcome of this vandalism on such early South Australian history caused an uproar around South Australia so great that the work had to be stopped, unfortunately the damage was already done to many of the graves and the headstones are now lined up in their broken state along the west wall of the cemetery. The grave of James Edmund Sarah did not have a headstone though it is listed on the records and can be identified.

Back to Henry and Phillippa

Fortunately Henry obtained work in the Moonta Mines and so he and Phillippa went about putting down roots and settling in to their new location, though they had a tough start as not long after arrival Charley died in 1869, cause unknown but the living conditions they were in were not the best at the time. On a happier note, Emily was born to them later in the same year, also named for another of Henry’s sisters. Then in 1871 there was another son, Henry II in September and then William John was born in late 1873 and Charles was born in March of 1877, William John was then born in 1879 in March and then John Moyle in April of 1880, he was given Moyle for Phillippa’s family name (Phillippa Moyle).

A sad twist of fate happened for Henry and Phillippa, their son William John, born 1873 was the second child they lost, he was three years of age, then a son born in March of 1879 they named William John, an unlucky name for them as he also passed away, he was only three weeks old. All in all, Phillippa and Henry lost three children in infancy or early childhood, such a tragic and devastating experience to have to go through. The children’s deaths were more than likely due to the disease and unsanitary conditions at the time, for a large family to lose more than half of it’s children in their early years was not a rare thing at all.



As many of the miners had moved to Moonta from Burra or Kapunda with their families after the mines had closed, they were a bit unsure of how long the Moonta mine would last and so they were reluctant to build houses and fully settle down, once bitten twice shy. This attitude permeated the Moonta workings.

They took no chance with building in the actual township and preferred instead, to live on the Mining leases which was the scrub around the mines, nothing permanent was built though, just crude shacks as they thought they would outlast the mine because of previous history with the other mines.

Once it became obvious that this was a major find in Moonta, some decided to build what were substantial buildings on the leases, some even moved into the township but that was rare. They said that the town was for townies and businessmen, not for “Cousin Jacks and Jennys.” Nobody at the time would have imagined that the mine would work continually for nearly 63 years, though when it became obvious that there was plenty of work for them, the miners then either constructed new cottages or expanded the ones they had already made so that they were more substantial to cater for their family needs.


I’ll have to read more tonight so I can tell you more of what happened to my amazing family 🙂

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