James Davis - Durrumboi Print Page Print this page

James Davis Cairn : 01-03-2012
James Davis Cairn : 01-03-2012

Photographs supplied by John Huth

The monument erected by the Maryborough Historical Society commemorates the finding of James Davis by Andrew Petrie in 1842 after living with Aborigines in the District for 14 years.

James Davis was convicted and transported to Sydney and then sent on to the settlement of Moreton Bay in 1828. Davis absconded in company with another convict, and together they reached Wide Bay. A certain resemblance to a deceased warrior named "Durramboi" led the Aboriginals to believe that Davis was the scraped body of the departed one reanimated, and Davis was adopted by Durramboi's parents, and called by his name.  

Davis passed from tribe to tribe, and was recognized as the ghost of numberless dead abpriginals; but he always succeeded in explaining that it was so long since he died that he had forgotten his name and habitation. His frequent journeys enabled him to gain valuable information respecting the then unexplored territory north of Moreton Bay. Davis was found in 1842 by Mr. Andrew Petrie, the father of Mr. John Petrie, while on an exploring expedition up to Wide Bay and the Mary River. He had forgotten his mother tongue, and for some time could use only a few incoherent words, garnished with the dialect of his tribe, which he spoke very fluently.

Upon returning to Brisbane and receiving a pardon from the Government, Davis first entered the service of Land Commissioner Simpson at Woogaroo, and shortly afterwards joined Mr. Eales's manager, Mr. Joliffe, to take up land in the Wide Bay district. He was next engaged with a survey party, opening the road to Gympie, a task which took a considerable time to accomplish. Whilst residing in Brisbane, he was also engaged as aboriginal interpreter in the Supreme Court, travelling about the colony wherever an aboriginal unable to speak English was placed on his trial. Davis died in Brisbane in 1889.


Address:Bruce Highway, Near Shire Council Office, Tiaro
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -25.727385
Long: 152.58335
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 25th November, 1961
Front Inscription

Nearby Durrumboi - James Davis 

Born Scotland, 1815

An escapee from Moreton Bay was recovered by Andrew Petrie and party, 13th May 1842, after living with Aborigines of the District for 14 years

Erected by Maryborough Historical Society

25th November 1961

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au