Margaret Harris’ Diary – Her obituary and those of her two husbands.

(1) Margaret (Markham) (Murray)  Harris (1877 – 1957) – Extract from Cowra Guardian 11 June 1957.


Late Mrs Harris of Darby’s Falls, Played for Dances on Mt McDonald Goldfields.


Mrs Margaret Harris, aged 80 years, died at the home of her daughter Mrs N Cooke at 121 The Crescent, Fairfield on Wednesday morning June 5.

The late Mrs Harris was a member of the oldest families in the district; her grandfather the late Edmund Markham having arrived at Darbys Falls from County Kilmarnoch (sic) in the year 1823.

Mrs Harris, as Margaret Markham, spent the early part of her life at Mt McDonald where she met and married her first husband, Frank Murray.

After a few years stay in various towns of New South Wales, Mrs Murray (as she then was) returned to Darby’s Falls just prior to the death of Mr Murray and resided there until 1955 when she went to live with her daughter in Fairfield.

In the year 1910 she became postmistress at Darby’s Falls and retained that position until she retired in 1953 and handed over to her son, George Harris; a total period of 43 years as postmistress.

When Mrs Harris first became postmistress, the telephone system at Darby’s Falls consisted of one phone which was used both as the exchange and the public phone, there being no subscribers. Mrs Harris would arrange the call and pass the phone to the caller to carry on the conversation. When she retired the Post Office was an official office with a modern switchboard carrying over thirty subscribers, and was also a branch of the Commonwealth Bank.

A noted pianist, Mrs Harris played for dances on the goldfields during the boom days at Mt McDonald and continued to play in a dance orchestra until just before leaving Darby’s Falls.

Her second husband, George Harris, predeceased her 15 years ago. Mrs Harris is survived by four sons and one daughter: Aubrey Murray (Wyangala Dam), Neville Murray (Canberra), James Murray (Parkes), George Harris (Canberra) and Mrs Nell Cooke (Fairfield).

On Thursday June 6, Requiem Mass was celebrated at 9 a.m. by Rev Fr Gallagher at St Joseph’s Church, Darby’s Falls. After prayers, the cortege left for the Catholic cemetery at Darby’s Falls, where Rev Fr Gallagher was assisted by Rev Fr Delaney of Cowra and Rev Fr Bourke of Goulburn.

Five grandsons and one nephew acted as pallbearers whilst members of Canberra Ambulance Service and family friends formed a guard of honour and marched ahead of the cortege.

The love and esteem in which Mrs Harris was held was witnessed by the large number of mourners who attended the funeral.

Mr Barry Simeon conducted the funeral arrangements.

Floral tributes and Mass cards were received from the following:

Floral tributes: Father Gallagher and Pauline; Aub and Thelma; George, Em, Georgie, Jan and John; Neil and Dot Brien; Mrs Coward and family; Superintendent and Staff, Canberra Ambulance; office staff of the Dept of the Interior (Canberra); Mr and Mrs G Fraser and family; Henderson boys and families; Mr H C Paterson and family; Ila Henderson, Gwen and Ken; Mr and Mrs Meredith; Mr and Mrs Arthur Walters; Les Eileen Moorby and family; Jack, Camille, Anne and Catherine Fallon; Jack and Ethel Howarth and family; Tally, Molly and family; Jim Horsfall and family; Les and Marj Spinks; Clarry, Barbara and Valerie Tarrant; Maud and Lucy; Jim and Jean Clatworthy, Mervyn, Daphne and family; Edie, Cyril and Darrell; Mr and Mrs A Howarth; Mr and Mrs A S Anthony and family; Lloyd, Betty, Maureen and Carmel; Austin and Shirley Cummins; Pat and Bob McL Smith; Mr and Mrs Percy Howarth and family; Edna, Joe and Colleen; Ray and Marj Horsfall; Mrs P E Whitty and Terry; Cook, Iris, Denis, Vera and Gordon; Mervyn and Elaine; Lynne and Norm Oliver; Nell and Dick Thompson; Jean and David Noakes; Neal, Ray Oliver and family; Mr and Mrs S B Everett; Val and Bill Saurine; Ken and Trevor; Mavis, Gordon, Ian and Tom; Joan and Mac Watts; Gordon, Mabel and family; Molly, Stan and family; Ollie, Stan, Pearl and Clem; Peter, Mavis and family; Mr and Mrs B C Howarth; Mr and Mrs Walter Howarth; Harold and Mrs Power; George and Peg Elliott; Colin, Rowena, Maureen and Charlie Howarth.

Mass Cards: Neville, Win and family; Aub and Thelma; Nell and family; Jim and Marg; Herb and Ena; Tom; Edie; Eileen, Clive and Clarrie; Rose, Ken and girls; Elsie; Allan and Mrs Corcoran; Tom, Melba and family; Barnes family; Jack, Trudy and boys; Gay and Ivy Whitty; Norman and Thora Newham; N E Whitty; Mr and Mrs E J Whitty; Eden and Nat; Eden Whitty; Joe, Edna and Colleen; Dom, Iris and Katherine; Lindsay, Mrs Berry and family; Rowley and Betty; Murray and Margaret; Mrs S E Kelly.




Francis Conyngham Murray (1861-1909) and Margaret Markham (1877-1857) on their Wedding Day.


(2)    Francis Conyngham Murray (1861 – 1909)  – Extract from Cowra Free Press 18 February 1909.


The Late Mr F C Murray

On Sunday last Mr Frank Conyngham Murray breathed his last at his residence  Darby’s Falls, after an illness extending over 18 months, from the effects of pulmonary tuberculosis, at the comparatively early age of 43 years. He was the son of Mr Charles Murray, of Milton, Shoalhaven district, where he was born. He came to Mt McDonald many years back as assistant to Mr Fox, storekeeper, and subsequently held a similar position in various parts of the country. Eight years ago he married Margaret Markham at Mount McDonald, by whom he leaves issue four children, the eldest of whom is seven. The remains were followed to their last resting place in the Cowra cemetery by a large concourse of mourners and sympathising friends. The Rev Fr O’Kennedy officiated at the grave and the funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr W W McLeod undertaker. Very general sympathy is with the afflicted widow and young family in their bitter hour of morning.




(3) George William (Sonny) Harris (1863 – 1941) – Extract from Lachlan Leader, Cowra 10 November 1941.


Mr George W Harris.       


Margaret (Markham) (Murray) Harris and George Harris late 1930s.

Mr George William Harris, an old and well known identity of the Darbys Falls district, passed away in Cowra District Hospital in  the early hours of Friday morning

Deceased was 78 years of age and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.

The late Mr Harris was born at Bennett Springs on the Reid’s Flat Road. The property was owned by his father at that time but is now in the hands of the Whitty brothers. It retains its old name, however.

The late Mr Harris followed in the footsteps of his father and carried on farming pursuits in the district until just before war broke out in 1914. He then moved to Darby’s Falls and opened a grocery business. He built a new general store about seven years ago and his son George took over its management.

The late Mr Harris is survived by his wife, one son George, and one sister Mrs Frank Newham of Pine Mount.

A large and representative funeral moved from St John’s Church of England, Cowra, on Friday afternoon for Cowra Cemetery. Ven Archdeacon Mirrington performed the last rites at the graveside.

Mr D J Nicholson, Funeral Director of Cowra, handled the funeral arrangements.



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