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Photographs supplied by Stephen Woods

The headstone erected by members of the Loyal Strangers Refuge Lodge, commemorates James Thrower who died while crossing the Bellingen Bar in 1846. The stone which was originally erected in 1846, was repaired, re-erected and unveiled on the 3rd February 1919 at the Pilot Station, Urunga. 

After his visit to the recent celebrations in connection with the Union and Junction Lodges (Newcastle) of the Manchester Unity Independent order of Oddfellows, the Grand Master of the society (Bro. J. Trahair) proceeded to Kempsey and thence by motor to Urunga, on the Bellinger River. The object of the visit was to unveil an old tombstone that had been erected at Urunga by the Strangers Refuge Lodge, Sydney, in memory of one of ts members. This was in 1846, many years before there was any known settlement on the river.

The stone was recently re-erected on the hill near the pilot station, having been removed from its former site near the hotel, where it stood for nearly 73 years. Very little is known about the early history of the stone, which was erected long before any white people had settled in the locality. The only inhabitants were blackfellows. Mr. A. Black, one of the oldest identities on the Belllnger River, who was present at the unveiling this week, told the gathering that some years ago he was instrumental in getting the late Sir John See (an ex-Premier of New South Wales) and Mr. Patrick Hogan (the member for the district) to visit the grave.

It was then decided that the tombstone should be preserved and re-erected. Money was subscribed for the purpose, and, after lodges of the Manchester Unity were started in the different centres of the Bellinger River, the matter was kept in mind, with the result that the stone, which has suffered on the top from the weather has been renovated and enclosed with iron railings, the cost being borne by the lodges. The unveiling ceremony was performed by the Grand Master assisted by the Deputy Grand Master (Bro. J. A. Perkins).

The inscription on it is as follows:— "Sacred to the memory of Mr. James Thrower, late master of the Cutter Comet, of Sydney who suddenly departed this life in a boat whilst engaged in sounding the bar of the Bellinger River, his vessel laying at anchor. Obit., June 4, 1846. This stone was erected by his brethren of the Loyal Strangers' Refuge Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity, as a pledge of their esteem.  He who a Comet's course had swayed, And heard the savage blast, Here mouldering in the silent shade, A lonely wreck is cast. Yet though his mortal, coil unstrung. In dust and ashes lies; His soul, a higher course has sprung, Immortal in the skies."
The Newcastle Sun (NSW),  8 February 1919, 
Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW),  6 February 1919.


Address:Morgo Street, Urunga Museum, Urunga, 2455
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.496944
Long: 153.021944
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1846
Front Inscription

     To The Memory Of 
     Mr. James Thrower
Late Master Of The Cutter Comet Of Sydney 
Who Suddenly Departed This Life In A Boat
Whilst Engaged In Sounding The Bar Of The 
Bellinger River. His Vessel Laying At Anchor 
       Obut June 4th 1846.
           Aetatis 30
This Stone Was Erected By His Bretheren Of
The Loyal Strangers Refuge Lodge Of The In-
Dependent Order Of Odd Fellows. Manchester 
Unity As A Pledge Of Their Esteem

He who a Comet`s course hadsway'd
And brav'd the savage blast
Here mould`ring in the silent shade
  A lonely wreck is cast

Yet though his mortal coil unsprung
In dust and ashes Lies.
His soul a higher course has sprung
Immortal in the skies. 

Source: MA
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