Authors: Rosamond Siemon
Tags: #True Crime/Murder General
During the two years' research and writing of this history I have been greatly encouraged by the unflagging interest of Betty Crouchley, without whose helpful comments this would have been a lesser book. I am also indebted to the Registrar of the University of Queensland, Mr Douglas Porter and the Trustee of the Mayne Estate, Mr John Moore.
In my search for the truth a great many people kindly provided leads to be followed. I would especially like to acknowledge the generous assistance of Fr Martin at the Roman Catholic Archives; Mr Bill Kitson, Lands Department; psychiatrists, Dr Mary Abrahams and Professor Beverley Raphael; Mr Noel Haysom; and the helpful staff at the University's Archives, Art Museum, and Fryer Library; the Queensland, and the New South Wales State Archives, the John Oxley, and the Mitchell Libraries, and the archival staff at the Brisbane City Council.
For the onerous task of proof-reading I greatly valued the meticulous assistance of Betty Crouchley and Peggy Burke.
Finally, I would like to thank Jill Bruxner, John McAuliffe, and the historians: Professor Malcolm Thomis, Dr Ross Johnston, Dr John Laverty, Dr Clive Moore, Dr Denis Cryle, Mr John Greg Smith, Fr T.P. Boland, Fr N.J. Byrne, and the late Sr Frances O'Donoghue, and the other authors: Dr Harrison Bryan, Dr Geoffrey Kenny, and Dr Clarence Leggett who gave me permission to draw on their published material.
I have known of the Mayne family since I was a child. My knowledge probably dates from the late 1920s when Mary Emelia and James Mayne, the last of the family, donated the money to buy the St Lucia site for the University of Queensland. At that time most of the specious stories which maligned the family resurfaced. In their gruesome variety they still circulate.
If it seems surprising knowledge for a family who lived deep in the mountain-rimmed Fassifern Valley, I can only imagine that, as some of my family regularly climbed those rugged mountains with a group of Brisbane-based bushwalkers, we heard the stories around the nightly campfire. Among the group were several amateur historians such as Danny O'Brien, Romeo Lahey and Doug Jolly.
When, for a few short years before World War 2, I lived by the river at Hill End in Brisbane, I saw where the Mayne family lived. We could see the house, ââMoorlands'', from the Toowong ferry. Locals frequently pointed across the river and said conspiratorily, ââThat's a bad place.'' Fate kept the Maynes forever in my sight. I married into a family who were their neighbours. The Siemons' ââRavensfield'' was separated from ââMoorlands'' by a small creek and a rough track called Patrick Lane. No Siemon child was ever allowed to cross the shallow creek. ââMoorlands'' was out of bounds, regarded as an ââevil place''. My mother-in-law, a gentle, charitable Christian lady, never defined that term. Her knowledge of the Maynes went back many years. Before her marriage she had lived in ââRocklily'', high on the cliff above the river and overlooking ââMoorlands''. Living the sheltered life of girls of her day, she had accepted without question that the Maynes were not respectable people.
In 1972 I learned of the Maynes' three major bequests to the University of Queensland when I joined the staff as Alumni Officer. What was a big surprise was how much mystery surrounded this family, which must be one of the greatest, if not
greatest benefactor of the University of Queensland and the State's community. When looking for material for a short informative article on them, I came across a list of items that had graced their home and which had come to the University after Mary Emelia Mayne died. With some difficulty, I located them all. They were excellent pieces of nineteenth-century workmanship, and, with the exception of the magnificent cedar table, once used as the Senate table, but which a staff member had later purchased, they were put on display at an ââEXPO UNI''.
In subsequent years I often wondered about the family. Could the people who had been so generous to their community have been as bad as the stories suggest? It became important to me to know the truth. In 1993, after delivering my PhD thesis to the examiners, I countered the withdrawal symptoms which accompanied the long wait for assessment by delving into the Mayne family history. There I was to learn that one of the last people, supposedly involved in this family tragedy, who had died an unnatural death, had at one time been employed by my father-in-law. There was no way I could abandon this story.
Long research into a family history inevitably draws one into their life. To me they are no longer cardboard figures based on facts and footnotes. Rightly or wrongly I believe that they reveal a personality which one can understand just as one has an intuitive understanding of one's own child. In this account I have given the facts, but the family has become very real to me. It cries out for understanding, so I have taken a little licence and added a dimension that, I hope, gives their tragedy a more human face.
We know that the Maynes suffered the stark reality of the long reach of the sins of the fathers. We do not know how far back in time the first culprit-father existed. Perhaps we should be questioning why communities take their revenge and persecute the children who never asked for the ignominy they inherited.
THE MAYNE FAMILY
|PATRICK 1824 Cookstown Ireland||9.4.1849||17.8.1865 Queen St||Unknown||Paddington|
|Mary (nÃ©e McIntosh) 17.8.1821 Ennis Clare Ireland||9.4.1849||4.9.1889 Moorlands Villa||Heart Failure||Toowong|
|Mary Kelly (Mary's mother. nÃ©e Nash. 1 McIntosh, 2 Kelly.) 1800 Ireland||twice||24.3.1865 Bowen Hills||Unknown||Paddington|
|Ann Mayne (Patrick's sister) 1829 Cookstown Ireland||â||4.7.1905 Moorlands||Cirrhosis||Toowong|
|CHILDREN Rosanna 30.1.1850 Queen St Brisbane||â||7.3.1934 All Hallows' Convent||Senile Decay||Nudgee|
|Isaac Patrick 14.1.1852 Queen St||â||31.1.1905 Bayview Asylum, Sydney||Suicide||Toowong|
|Evelina Selina 19.10.1853 Queen St||â||8.11.1854 Queen St||Unknown||Paddington|
|William McIntosh 17.5.1856 Queen St||â||16.8.1921 Moorlands||Heart Failure||Toowong|
|Mary Emelia 31.12.1858 Queen St||â||12.8.1940 Moorlands||Senile Decay Heart Failure||Toowong|
|James O'Neil 21.1.1861 Queen St||â||31.1.1939 Moorlands||Cerebral oedema Hyptertension Arterio-sclerosis||Toowong|