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Richard Binney Orr Margaret Anne Bethune
Born: February 18, 1847 at Killough, County Down
Born: March 27,1853 in Glascow, Scotland
Died: November 29, 1921 Died: Oct 3, 1922
Father: Rev. Samuel John Corbett ORR Father: Donald David BETHUNE
Mother: Mary MARTIN* Mother: Mary SMITH
Married: January 2, 1871

* NOTE: The parents of Mary MARTIN were Allan MARTIN and JANE - information gleaned from a lawyer's search to probate a will. This is what started me on this quest. According to the letter, Mary MARTIN & Unnamed ORR had two children: Richard Binney ORR and Letitia ORR.

THEIR TEN CHILDREN (at least three children died in infancy - possibly also the last two as well.):
Evelyn Mary Bethune ORR, born November 10, 1872
Constance Margaret ORR, born April 23, 1875, died March 10, 1876 age one year old.
William Cuthbert Binney ORR, born 1 Jul 1876 died 7 Feb 1877- age 7 months.
Gertrude Letitia ORR, born 25 Sep 1877 in QLD AUS. Remained single. Lived with mother till her death.
Cuthbert Donald ORR, born June 21, 1879 Died in WWI, August 12, 1918, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Kathleen Muriel ORR, born September 29, 1882 and died October 10, 1884 age two years old.
Edgar Cyril ORR, born January 30, 1886
Violet Irene ORR, born August 15, 1889
Sydney J. ORR. born1893
Richard J. ORR, born 1894

Most of the initial information on this family came from the following letter which is in the collection of Dorothy Robertson. Apparently, Darkey Flats, where R.B. Orr taught is 22 miles from Warwick, which in turn is 200 miles from Brisbane. The children’s ages as given above were calculated from details in the letter. I'll let Richard tell his story in his own words:

State School,
Darkey Flat,
Via Warwick,
1st November, 1896
My Dear Uncle George, [1]
            I got your letter of 16th Sept. yesterday, just 45 days after you wrote. I was indeed very much surprised to get your letter. I thought I was forgotten by all at home. I got one letter from Wm. John Martin which I answered. I have made no money having just been able to pay my way. I owe no debts & just manage to clothe, feed & educate the family on my income. You will receive this letter about Christmas & you can think of me when taking your dinner, the snow and frost outside then, if God spares us to see that time, I will have mine in the hottest part of our year with the thermometer at 100 degrees in the room. This land of ours is a beautiful, rich country. We sadly want men with a little capital to come here & farm it. Our land laws are very reasonable – Farms can be got from 80, 160, 235 acres at 2s.6 an acre & 10 years to pay; or other richer lands can be bought at from £1, £1.5 up to £4.10 per acre from government at 20 years to pay it. The grazing lands in large areas are rented from government on a lease of years at about 3/4d the square mile. The place I am living in now is both a farming & mining district. The mining from what I have seen is not a profitable business except for a few. The school teachers here are all government officials, are all liable to be sent to any part of the colony at the Minister of the Education Department order. Expenses are paid in first class of train or steamer, and in the country you are provided with house and water free. I receive about £3 a week the year through. Where I am now is about 200 miles west from our capital Brisbane. The nearest town is Warwick, 21 miles off. It is about the size of what Ardglass was when I left home. It is the centre of farming, mining and Station properties. The stations are the large grazing lands rented from government & having thousands of sheep or hundreds of cattle grazing on them. Horses and cattle also sheep are very cheap compared with home prices. They are not housed in winter although they have the feed there. Although we have sharp frosts in July-August we have no snow. I have not seen snow since I left home. Horses are so cheap that nearly everyone in the country keeps one – we could not get about without them. One wheat harvest in this country will begin in about a week from now. Some of the farmers here tell me their crops look like a 30 to 40 bushels to the acre which will be sold to the flour mills at 4s the bushel. After the wheat crop is taken off they will immediately put in maize corn which will be harvested at the beginning of winter. Thus they can easily get two good paying crops in the year all without manure. The greatest drawback against the wheat is rust and drought. I married in January 1871 and our family living is 2 boys and 3 girls. There (sic) names and ages are Evelyn Mary Bethune [2] 24 years this month; Gertrude Letitia [3] 19 years last Sept; Cuthbert Donald [4] 17 years last June; Edgar Cyril [5] 10 years last Jany, and Violet Irene [6] 7 years last August. They are all at home except the eldest boy whom I have apprenticed to the foundry in Warwick. This is his second year there. Lettia Jane [7] lives at MacKay about 800 miles from here. She married before me. I have never been at their place but she tells me it’s a nice place but very hot. They have cattle and grow the sugar cane. She has a large family & paid me a visit with two of them about 2 years ago. They are very well off up to this last year when the “tick plague” and “redwater” killed off thousands of cattle in that part of the colony. These men who are graziers on a large scale are catted squatters. I forgot to say all our railways are government property so far. All we are short of is a larger population, such as factories would give us. We can produce our food and clothing products in abundance but we want the consumers. I am my dear uncle your affectionate nephew, R.B. Orr [8] H.T.
[1] George Crean Martin died April 24, 1899 and was responsible for erecting the tombstone listing the many family members at St. Nicholas Church in Ardglass, Co. Down. He was a son of Allan and Jane Martin and an uncle to Richard Binney Orr. Richard Binney Orr was the son of his sister, Mary Martin who married an Orr whose first name we do not yet know.
[2] Evelyn Mary Bethune Orr, born November 1872
[3] Gertrude Letitia Orr, born September 1877 would be the date as computed from the letter, however the Queensland Indexes to Births, Marriages and Deaths give us February 21, 1880.
[4] Cuthbert Donald Orr, born June 1879
[5] Edgar Cyril Orr, January 1866
[6] Violet Irene Orr, born August 1889
[7] Letitia Jane (Orr) married an Richard Atherton
[8] Richard Binney Orr

Thanks to Wendy JACK, I have information from the Queensland Indexes to Births Marriages and Deaths which further verifies many of the dates. Wendy also forwarded an archived email from Robyn M. Condliffe in the NIR DOWN Listserve of 30 March 1999 as well as information from the Commonwealth Graves Commission. This has added substantially to our references. We know that at the time of Cuthbert Donald ORR's death (and at least until March 1922), his parents Richard Binney ORR and Margaret Anne ORR lived at 95 Herbert Street, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland.

More recently, I have the following from Robyn M. Condliffe:

Richard Binney ORR, born 18 Feb 1847 in Killough Ardglass DOW IRL, died 29 Nov 1921. Richard sailed to Australia with his sister Letitia on the Winterthur . They left from the Port of London on 26 Aug 1868 & arrived December 1868. Richard & Letitia shared a second class cabin.Richard was a Matriculated Student in Arts in Queen's College Belfast Ireland & was employed as a private tutor in Ireland for some time. On arrival in Australia he was an Assistant in Brisbane & Rockhampton & then Head Master at Tingalpa Qld.

He married Margaret Ann BETHUNE, 2 Jan 1871 in Rockhampton QLD AUS, born 27 Mar 1853 in Glasgow LKS SCT, (daughter of Donald David BETHUNE and Mary SMITH) baptized 29 Jul 1853 in Glasgow LKS SCT, died 3 Oct 1922 in Ambulance Brisbane Gen Hospital. Margaret: Baptised as Mary Ann Bethune, shipping on Gengis Khan as Mary Ann Bethune, but known as Margaret Ann Bethune thereafter. See Qld School Teacher records & Inquest Papers under separate folder. Living with daughter, Gertrude Letitia Orr, 451 UpperEdward St Spring Hill, when she had the fall which resulted in her death.Prior to 7 Aug 1922, resided at 91 Herbert St Spring Hill for 2 years.Religion:- Presbyterian.

MISC: Cuthbert Donald ORR was born at North Pine River, Queensland and had served in the 42nd Bn. Of Australian Infantry as a private. He was 35 years old when he died. His record in the Roll of Honour for the Australian War Museum backs up the information from the letter that he worked in a foundry. It also mentions that he was a railway fireman but was suspended after a collision between two trains at Roma, Queensland.He was educated in four different State Schools in Queensland which may mean that the family moved a lot.

Other bits possibly worth pursuing include the 1901 Census where a Samuel ORR turns up in Ballee and a Widow Mary ORR is mentioned in Forde Estate 1854 PRONI/D/B/1/2 and a William ORR is recorded in Griffiths Valuation of County Down, 1863 at Drumaroad Townland, Loughinisland Parish with a lessor William B. Forde.

At the James Cook University Library Archives there are the Cook - Atherton Family Records (NOTE I do not have ready access to these. If any one else does, I would be grateful. Sharon Oddie Brown, August 2003.)

CA1 Folder containing xerox copies of::
newspapers cuttings of Atherton family marriages, births and deaths,1873-1906
excerpts from Daily Mercury Friday 6 April 1962
excerpts from The Queensland Pioneer Book
1879 land lease
15 reference cards
CA2 Autograph book circa 1911 belonging to Vida Althea Cook
CA3 Birthday book circa 1886 belonging to Althea Atherton. MY NOTE: Given what we got from JeannieMoorhead's Birthday Book, this might be interesting!
CA4 Althea A Cook's bible dated 29 April 1924.
CA5 Vida Althea Cook's 1917 diary.

CA6 Folder containing:
6 xerox sheets of Aboriginal words
4 handwritten sheets of Aboriginal words
CA7 Queensland Trustees Ltd balance sheet and financial statements for1950, 1951 and 1953.
CA8 7 pkts photographs.
CA9 2 postcard sized photographs.
CA10 3 postcards.
CA11 28 Christmas cards.
CA12 Envelope containing paper cuttings, childrens drawings, and paper patterns.
CA13 9 Telegrams
CA14 49 letters to Mr. & Mrs. Cook.
CA15 16 letters to Mr. H.J. Parsons.
CA16 1 envelope containing spiritualist writings.

NOTE: Archives Location 2L

Additionally, there are the papers of James A. Gilmour
These papers belonged to the Gilmour/Lear/Fryer families from Mt Kelman, Springsure in Central Queensland. James Gilmour was involved in the cattle industry. The correspondence, certificates and ephemera within this collection date from the 1870s. While not extensive, they provide some insight into Queensland's early pioneering period. Archives Location 137L

NOTE: Apparently, there are two men named Rev Richard BINNEY - both sr. & jr. who are buried in the Bangor Abbey Graveyard.



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