Matilda Miller 1841 – 1893
Featured Image: Courtesy of Max Drury, North Richmond. This would be one of the very earliest photographs ever taken in the district; possibly in the 1860s? Photography was then in its infancy; even on a global scale?
Matilda was the eldest of the nine children of Mathew and Anne Miller (nee Pinkerton). She was born in Scone on 10th March 1841 and died at Ellerston on 5th April 1893 aged 52.
Matilda first married Walter Hayne at Scone on 13-9-1859. Walter had been born in England on 31-10-1829 and died at Gundy on 12-11-1872. Matilda then married Charles Hines (b. England 1846) at Pages River on 21-4-1881. Charles died in Maitland on 21-5-1897. Both Walter Hayne and Charles Hines were listed as farmers by occupation.
When Sir John Robertson’s Land Bill (Conditional Purchase) was passed in 1861 Mathew Miller secured several blocks of land under this system including ‘Belvue’ (original spelling) which was the first block taken up at Gundy. In the early years the whole district was known as Belvue. It was at ‘Belvue’ that Mathew Miller constructed the pise house for his daughter Matilda and then husband Walter Hayne. Some records show that it was Walter Hayne who originally selected ‘Belvue’. It is close by the river crossing and near the track leading up the Hunter River. In time Mathew Miller procured many more blocks in the Gundy district under the ’Conditional Purchase’ system.
It may be that Matilda was the second wife of Walter Hayne? Walter reputedly had a son by his first marriage known colloquially as Jack Hayne (see later post). Matilda was unlucky in ‘selection’ of her second husband Charles Hines. Charles was arraigned and detained at “Her Majesty’s Pleasure”. He died by hanging in Maitland Goal on 21-5-1897. Police records reveal his heinous crimes related to carnal knowledge and incest of minors involving his step-daughters and own natural daughters. Mystery surrounds the actual cause of death of Matilda at Ellerston on 5/04/1893. A close descendent has privately suggested one of Matilda’s own ‘injured’ daughters may have been implicated? This was four years before the conviction and execution of Charles Hines in 1897.