Friday, 20 March 2015

West End Cemetery Pioneers - Rose Blaxland

As promised recently on NQHistory Facebook page, this is the first in a series of articles about our pioneers buried in the West End Cemetery.

Rose Isabell Blaxland (nee Pick) arrived in Australia on 4th May 1874 at the age of 22. A native of Kent, England, Rose arrived in Brisbane aboard the Royal Dane as a free passenger. 

According to her obituary (see below), Rose gained work as a nurse with one of the hospitals, and later became associated with the Lady Bowen Hospital.

Rose came to Townsville in 1884 where she practised midwifery for many, many years. Records show that in 1920 she was operating a maternity home/lying-in hospital in her own home, at 24 Flinders Street, where she had lived since 1900.  She was registered to have a maximum of three patients at any one time.

In 1899 she had married Colonel George Glendower Blaxland, in Cairns. Blaxland was the first paid Commandant of the Queensland Volunteer Forces.  Colonel Blaxland died soon after their marriage, and left Rose a widow for the remaining 42 years of her life.

Here is Rose's obituary from the Townsville Daily Bulletin, Friday 16 October 1942:
An old resident, Nurse Rose Isabell Blaxland, late of 24 Flinders Street West End, passed away at an early hour on Wednesday morning last, at the age of 88 years.  She was born in Kent, England, in 1854, and landed in Brisbane in 1874, where she joined the nursing staff of one of the hospitals, and later became associated with the Lady Bowen Hospital and obtained her certificate for midwifery.  Deceased came to Townsville in 1884 and for the last 40 years resided at 24 Flinders Street west.  During her life she practised her profession and often had to travel by stage coach to carry out her duties.  Many a mother can testify to her unswerving devotion to duty and her gentle and tender kindness.  She was a relict of the late Colonel G. G. Blaxland, who pre-deceased her 40 years ago.  The late colonel was one of the founders of the first Kennedy Regiment.  They are both at rest, together, in the Old Cemetery.

A testament to how much Rose was loved and admired, can be seen in the following In Memoriam notices, printed in the Townsville Daily Bulletin the following year, on the anniversary of Rose's death.

In Memoriam

BLAXLAND – In loving memory of our
dear friend (Nurse) Rose Isabell Blaxland,
who departed this life 14th October 1942.

Gone is the face we loved so dear
      Silent is the voice we love to hear,
Deep in our hearts a memory is kept,
      We who loved her will never forget.
Times have changed in many ways
      But one thing changes never,
The memory of those happy days,
      When we were all together.

(Inserted by her loving friends, Mr and Mrs W. Kellar and John, Len, Arthur and George)

BLAXLAND – In loving memory of our
true and sincere friend (Granny) Rose
Isabel Blaxland, who departed this life
on the 14th day of October, 1942.
Always remembered.
(Inserted by Mr and Mrs J. J. Petersen and family)

If you have any information about Rose Blaxland and her time as a private midwife, or, if you'd like to know more about the sources used for the above information, please contact me at the email address listed on the Contacts page of this blog.

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