Burrangong Cemetery and a murder mystery
The Burrangong Cemetery is located near the Young to Grenfell Road, on the eastern side of Burrangong Creek opposite Musgrave House, which is now known as Quamby.
There are 25 to 30 people buried in this small cemetery which is on private property.
James White, the first European settler in the Young district, who died on 5th September 1865, is buried here.
Except for the Whites traces of most of the others are lost.
Sarah Musgrave, James White’s niece, visited this cemetery on which she claimed was her 100th birthday on the 4th May, 1930.
Denis Regan, her first husband, is also buried here.
He “died April 9th 1863, aged 29 years, leaving a wife and four children.”
According to Baptismal records from the Church of England at Gunning Sarah was baptised on the 13th May 1840 and was born on the 7th May 1834, making her 96 in 1930.
Also buried in the Burrangong cemetery is Mark Hughes, the shepherd who bought James Whites’ sheep to the Young district, the first sheep to be brought to the area.
Mark Hughes is reputed to have fought in the ‘Battle of Waterloo’ .
James White’s brother, John White, was Sarah Musgraves father.
In 1837 John White, according to Sarah Musgrave in her book “The Wayback,” died of thirst after being lost in the bush during a trip from Burrangong Station to Murringo.
John White had married Eliza Waterford in Sydney at St James Church on 11 October, 1833.
According to reports in the “Australian” and the “Colonist” of early 1838 there is some doubt as to the cause of John White’s death.
There is mention of a suspect by the name of Hickey and others, including White’s wife, being arrested and later discharged.
The article in ‘The Australian’ of 16th January,1838 states that James White began a search for his brother after he was missing from his habitation.
In passing through a forested area he noticed a large area of burnt grass, on reaching the spot he saw part of the body of a man, the rest being consumed by fire.
On examining the remains he recognised, by part of the dress and a watch, that he was observing all that remained of his brother.
A parcel and a gun had been placed in the fork of a tree.
Suspicion was concentrated on the wife of the deceased as she had eloped with a man named Hickey, who worked as an overseer for Mr Haslingden of Burrowa.
Three other men had absconded at about the same time.
The article goes on to state that four of the Mounted Police were despatched to make a search for, and apprehend all persons of whom they might have suspicion.
And that Mr. James White was going to offer a reward for the apprehension of those concerned in the murder .
No person was ever charged for the murder.
Historian Brian James contributes his column to the Young Witness on behalf of the Young Historical Society.