May 5, 2021
Visitors gathered under overcast skies on Sunday afternoon at the Moore-Linville Cemetery to honour a special pioneer of the district.
Members of the Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails (BVHT) history group, Friends Of Stonehouse and Williams family descendants huddled under shelter and umbrellas as showers swept across the historic graveyard.
The rain may have dampened some spirits but it couldn’t stop the official unveiling of the restored headstone of Robert Williams, who died in 1907.
The Gloucestershire stonemason emigrated to Australia with his extended family in 1873.
Soon after arriving, he bought 2000 acres when Colinton Station was resumed and began building the collection of structures which came to be known as the Moore Stonehouse.
His hand-hewn stone buildings, built on the old coach road to Nanango at the foot of the Blackbutt Range, served as the district’s hotel, inn, post office, voting place and stagecoach stop.
They quickly became famous, even getting a mention in the 1880s folk song, “Brisbane Ladies”.
After a colourful career, Williams was buried in the local cemetery underneath a handsome headstone carved by his son Frank, who was by then a successful stonemason in Ipswich.
However, over time the gravesite gradually became dilapidated and the marble monument began to tilt at a dangerous 35 degree angle.
The Moore Stonehouse property is now owned by Loretta and John Eastwood who are slowly restoring the historic buildings.
The couple joined with the BVHT and its sub-group, Friends Of Stonehouse, to fix up Robert’s grave.
John, who was a guest speaker at Sunday’s unveiling ceremony, said Robert’s story was worth preserving for future generations and he hoped the headstone would remain now for at least another 100 years.
Money raised by Friends Of Stonehouse and at an open day held at the property a few years ago was put towards the restoration costs.
“It was only fitting that we start our journey with Stonehouse by making sure his headstone was preserved at the same time,” John said.
Queensland Heritage Masonry repaired and straightened the headstone, rebuilt the supports, cleaned it and replaced some of the lettering.
Friends of Stonehouse now have more projects on their agenda, including developing a link from the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to the Stonehouse precinct and building toilets so school groups can visit.
Open days will next be held at the Stonehouse property on July 24-25.
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