James Henry Thornber


Born:       Abt. 1860 (Bolton, Lancashire, England)
Died:         28 December 1902 (Mackay, Queensland, Australia) aged 42 years.
30 December 1902 (Mackay Cemetery, Sect. 2, Row 5, Plot No. 12.)
Parents:   Henry THORNBER and Nancy RICHARDSON
Marriage: 15 July 1886 (Queensland) to Elizabeth Annie HESS  

This Article appeared in the Mackay Mercury dated 29 December 1902, a copy which was supplied by Mrs Joan Howland whose husband is a grandson of J.H. Thornber. James Henry Thornber died on 28 December 1902 aged 41 years and is buried in the Mackay Cemetery.

News reached town this morning to the effect that while on his way to town from Cattle Creek, where he had been during the Christmas holidays, Mr. J. H. Thornber had met with an accident from the discharge of a gun which was in the buggy. The first news reached town in the form of a telegram asking Dr. Lloyd to go to Walkerston at once, Mr. Thornber being at Pascoe's Hotel. It was not long before a second communication reached town that Mr Thornber has succumbed to the effects of the wound and had died before Dr. Lloyd reached Walkerston.

Thornber family Grave, Mackay Cemetery.
(Glen Hall Collection, March 2008)

From what we have been able to glean, it would appear that the deceased Gentleman with some of his boys was driving towards Walkerston and had occasion to lean forward to his horse when, by some inexplicable means, a gun which was in the cart went off lodging a charge of shot in the lower part of Mr. Thornber's body . The boys drove on to Walkerston and medical aid was at once telegraphed but as recorded above the deceased passed away before the arrival of the Doctor was possible. It is only some six months or so ago, that Mr. Thornber received the appointment of Town Clerk, the duties of which office his long acquaintance with Municipal affairs enabled him to discharge with efficiency.

Mr Thornber came to Queensland in 1881, landing at Brisbane and engaging in business during the following two years in the firms of Edwards and Chapman, and Grimes and Petty. From there he came to Mackay and entered into partnership with Mr T. Pearce. After a couple of years the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Thornber was for some time with Mr. W. Robertson, of the foundry. He subsequently went into partnership with Mr. S. Lambert, with whom he remained for three years. In 1890 he opened the New Palace Stores on his own account remaining in that business until a few months ago.

Mr Thornber was a native of Bolton, in Lancashire and came to the colonies when about 18 years of age. He Married the daughter of Mr. M. G. Hess of this town in 1886 and he leaves his widow and a numerous family, ranging from 5 to 15 years of age, to deplore their bereavement. The deceased gentleman was an energetic businessman and an active participant in public affairs, having been for many years a member of the Municipal Council , during which time he occupied the Mayoral Chair. He was also a member of the Harbour Board, and no movement, having in view the benefit of those among whom he lived, failed to find his name among its most liberal promoters. The sympathy of all will be tendered to his widow and children in their hour of affliction. The body of the deceased gentleman was brought into town at noon today, and the funeral will take place tomorrow morning at 10.30 from the residence of Mr. M. G. Hess.


  Mackay Genie Gossip; Newsletter No. 65; Aug. 1994, published by Genealogical Society of QLD, Mackay Branch.

Other Sources:

Fadden, A.W. (1969) They called me Artie, The Memoirs of Sir Arthur Fadden. Milton QLD: Jacaranda Press Pty Ltd.

Mackay Branch, Genealogical Society of QLD. Mackay Cemetery Burial Register.

Mackay Branch, Genealogical Society of QLD. Mackay Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions.

Mackay Genie Gossip; Newsletter No. 65; Aug. 1994, published by Genealogical Society of QLD, Mackay Branch.

Queensland Births Deaths and Marriages, Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Brisbane; Deaths 1900-1904, Microfiche Sheet No. ?, Page No. 1243, Registration No. 03 / 002831.

Queensland Pioneers Index, 1829-1889

Queensland Federation Index 1890-1914.

James Henry Thornber's daughter Ilma, married Sir Arthur Fadden who was the Australian Prime Minister from 29 August 1941 to 7 October 1941.

Profile on Sir Arthur Fadden National Museum of Australia website.

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