James Wilson and Jane Turner

James Wilson was the second child and oldest son of Thomas Braidwood Wilson and Jane Thompson. He was born on 9 August 1833 at sea on the Sovereign (Lat. 49.42 Long. 20.18) as the ship made its way from New South Wales to England with his parents.1 James probably received an early education, given the status of his family. James' mother died in 1838 when he was five, an event that must have made a significant impression on the young boy. His father died in 1843, just after James turned 10. Shortly afterwards James accompanied his sister Mary to Tasmania where they stayed with their uncle George Wilson. The journey would have provided a timely distraction for the child who was now an orphan, having lost both parents.

James Wilson married Jane Turner on 2 March 1865 at Holy Trinity Church, Sydney, New South Wales.2

MARRIAGE. On the 2nd instant, by special license, at Trinity Church, by the Rev. Edward Rogers, James Wilson Esq , only son of the late Thomas Braidwood Wilson, of Braidwood, M.D., surgeon R.N., M. R. C. S., to Jane, eldest daughter of J. E. Turner, Esq., H. M. Customs.3

WILSON-TURNER. March 2, by the Rev. Edward Rogers, Mr. James Wilson, to Miss Jane Turner.4

Jane was born in 1839 in Murrumbidgee, New South Wales, the daughter of John Turner and Jane Fisher.5 James and Jane would have five children over the next ten years.


Name Birth Married Death


Jane Constance Lily

bn. 26 Dec 1865

Millers Point, NSW6


John Joseph

dd. 27 Aug 1943

Maryborough, QLD


Thomas Braidwood

bn. 11 Aug 1868

Rockhampton, QLD7



dd. 23 Jan 1903

Cairns, QLD


James Mordaunt

bn. 17 Nov 1869

Rockhampton, QLD8




Mary Isabella

bn. 25 Sep 1872

St. George, NSW9


Albert Joseph

dd. 22 May 1959

Kangaroo Point, QLD


Catherine Ida

bn. 26 Apr 1874

St. George, NSW10



dd. 14 Nov 1932

Perth, WA

Thomas and James Wilson were both born at Banana Station in Rockhampton, Queensland, while Mary Isabella was born in Sherwood House in New South Wales. Catherine was born at Sebastapol St. in Stanmore, New South Wales.

On the 17th instant, at Banana Station, Queensland, the wife of JAMES WILSON, Esq., of a son.11

Nothing more is known about the family before the early untimely death of Jane Wilson, nee Turner, on 18 March 1884 in Cheapside Street, Maryborough, Queensland. The cause of death was Pthysis, an archaic word for tuberculosis, from which she had been suffering for 18 months. Jane's parents were noted as John Turner, a Customs Officer, and Jane Fisher. Jane's husband James certified the event. Jane was buried on 19 March 1884 in the Maryborough Cemetery.12

The youngest child in the family, Catherine, was only nine, but the oldest Jane was 19 and would have been able to assist her father with caring for the children.

James Wilson
James Wilson

James Wilson survived his wife for a further 12 years. He died on 18 July 1896 in Cheapside Street, Maryborough, Queensland. The cause of death was cerebral apoplexy with right hemiplegia, or a stroke, from which he had been suffering for five months. James' occupation was recorded as Collector, and his age as 62 years, 11 months and 9 days. James' father was recorded as Thomas Braidwood Wilson, Medical Practitioner, but his mother's name was not noted. James' son, Thomas Braidwood Wilson, also of Cheapside street, certified the event. James was buried on 20 July 1896 in the Maryborough Cemetery, Queensland. There are a couple of anomalies on the registration, James' wife's name was given as Jane Thompson, the name of his mother, and while his five living children were recorded correctly, there was also a decease male child, although not named.13

DEATH. WILSON. On the 18th instant, at his residence, Chelsea Cottage, North-street, Maryborough, Queensland, aged 62 years, James Wilson, only son of the late Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, R.N., of Braidwood, its founder, a distinguished colonist, and the once well-known surgeon-superintendent of various convict ships to Sydney and Hobart.14

Jane Constance Lily Wilson married John Joseph Higgins on 20 May 1897 in Maryborough, Queensland.15 John was born in 1870 in Queensland, the son of Patrick Higgins and Rose Mulvey.16 John and Jane had three children that have been traced.

Thomas Braidwood Wilson married Margaret McLauchlan Gilliland on 28 December 1901 in Queensland.17 Margaret was born on 14 September 1879 in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland, the daughter of William Hugh Bryce Gilliland and Margaret McLachlan.18 Thomas and Margaret had just one child that has been traced.

Mary Isabella Wilson married Albert Joseph Cannon on 30 March 1904 in Queensland.19 Albert was baptised on 9 June 1872 in the Forest Hill Christ Church in Lewisham, Kent, England, the son of George and Harriet Cannon.20 No children have been traced for this couple.

Mary Wilson has also been recorded as dying on 19 October 1885 in Paddington, New South Wales, but no matching record can be found in the New South Wales indexes, and there is evidence that supports the fact she married Albert Cannon and lived to an old age.21

Catherine Ida Wilson married Joseph Dickinson and it is believed the marriage of Joseph Hamilton Dickinson and Ida Wilson in 1903 in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, represents that event.22

Thomas Braidwood Wilson died on 23 January 1903 in Cairns, Queensland.23 According to one source, Thomas succomed (sic) to pnemonia (sic) after playing football with the flue (sic) in the driving rain on a mud flat.24

Maryborough, January 27.

Mr. THOMAS B. WILSON, goods clerk in the Cairns Railway, an old and popular Maryborough boy, died at Cairns on Friday last. He was 14 years in the Railway Department, 11 of which he put in here. He was a prominent figure in athletics, and was widely known throughout the district as one of the foremost pedestrians. He also was a fine footballer.25

Thomas' wife Margaret had their only child shortly after Thomas' death, and remarried on 27 November 1911 to Alfred William Franzmann.26

(Catherine) Ida Dickinson died on 14 November 1932 in Perth, West Australia.27

DICKINSON. On November 14, 1932, at Perth, Ida, the beloved wife of Joseph Dickinson of Glen Forrest, loved mother of Joe, Tom, Hamilton James, and Nellie, daughter of the late James Wilson, of Queensland, grand-daughter of the late Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, R.N., founder of Denmark, W.A., and Braidwood, N.S.W.28

In April 1933 Thomas Dickinson, the son of Joseph and Catherine Dickinson, wrote to the Braidwood Review and District Advocate about his unique family history. The letter provides insight about how much the family were told about their great-grandfather.


(To the Editor of the 'Review')

Sir,— Whilst casually glancing through the columns of the 'Braidwood Dispatch,' I came across a reference to the grave of Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, the pioneer of Braidwood. This piece of news was of particular interest to me, as I am a direct descendant of the said Dr. Braidwood Wilson. My mother, who quite recently passed away, was a daughter of James Wilson, of Maryborough, Queensland, the said James Wilson being a son of Dr. Braidwood Wilson. I am, therefore, a great grandson of the Doctor's. I have two aunts still living in Queensland, who are grandchildren of Dr. Wilson's. Dr. Wilson was one of the little known pioneers of Australia. He was a surgeon attached to the Royal Navy, a great naturalist, and also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was sent out to Australia as surgeon superintendent in charge of convict ships. Whilst in Australia he undertook exploratory work of which little was chronicled. One of his efforts was an exploratory trip up the north coast. He left Sydney (N..S.W.) on March 25th 1829 on the ship Governor Ready. The ship was wrecked and the crew having taken to the boats, made their way along the north coast of Australia to the settlement of Port Raffles. Port Raffles was abandoned in August 1829 and Dr. Wilson sailed westwards with the Commandant Captain Barker. who had been transferred to take charge as Commandant of King George's Sound (Western Australia). They arrived at Fremantle on October 17th. 1829, in the ship Governor Phillips. While at King George's Sound, Dr. Wilson was en engaged in exploratory work. and, in conjunction with Captain Barker and Lt Collie, pioneered the greater part or the south-west of Western Australia. The towns of Denmark, Collie and Mount Barker stand as monuments to the memory of their endeavors, Dr. Wilson was also the author of a book entitled 'A Narrative of a Voyage Round the World,' in which he includes a description of the British Settlement on the coast ot New Holland, as Australia was then known. I have tried to obtain a copy of this book, but up to date I have not been successful. As a reward for his work Dr. Wilson was granted a lease of 6,000 acres of land in New South Wales. The exact location of this lease I have been unable to ascertain. Wilson's Promontory is also an earlier monument to the exploratory endeavors of Dr. Wilson. I, myself, have not long been a resident of New South Wales, Western Australia being my home State. I have often intended visiting Braidwood, but the opportunity has not yet offered. I would be pleased with any items of interest that you could forward me, either in connection with Dr. Wilson's sojourn in Braidwood, or, in fact, anything connected with him in any way. I would be particularly pleade with a photograph of his grave, and would reimburse you for any expense that might be incurred. In closing, I might state that my aunt, a Mrs. Higgins, of Maryborough, Queensland, has a life-size painting of Dr. Braidwood Wilson, and is also in possession of his full dress uniform. Yours, &c, THOMAS B. DICKINSON. Box 46, Post Office. Wellington, N.S.W.29

Joseph H. Dickinson died on 14 November 1933 in Glen Forrest, in the Swan district, West Australia.30

DICKINSON. On November 14, 1933, suddenly, at Glen Forrest, Joseph Dickinson, beloved father of Joseph, Thomas, Nellie and Hamilton: aged 67 years.31

Jane Constance Lily Higgins, nee Wilson, died on 27 August 1943 in Maryborough, Queensland.32

HIGGINS. At her residence 73 Ferry St., August 27, Jane Constance Higgins, beloved Wife of Mr. J. J. Higgins & Mother of Mrs. V. Melean (Brisbane), Miss Lil. Higgins (Maryborough), Squadron Leader Jack Higgins (R.A.A.F.), & Grandmother of Miss Barney Melean (A.W.A.S.), & only Sister of Mrs. A. J. Cannon (Brisbane). Aged 78 years.33

Maryborough, Queensland
Map of Maryborough, Queensland
Google Maps

John Joseph Higgins died on 18 January 1948 in Maryborough, Queensland. His parents were recorded as Patrick Thomas Higgins and Rose Mulligan.34

HIGGINS. At the Demaine Private Hospital, Maryborough, on January 18, John Joseph Higgins, late of 73 Ferry St., Maryborough, beloved Husband of the late Mrs. Lillian Jane Higgins & devoted Father of J. Higgins (Brisbane), Mrs. Melean (Brisbane), & Miss Lillian Higgins (Maryborough), & Brother of Mrs. Daisy Raymond (Brisbane), aged 78 years. R.I.P.35

Albert Joseph Cannon died in January 1949 in Brisbane, Queensland. He was recorded as the son of George Cannon and Harriet Bland.36

Capt. A. Cannon, dead at 76

The death has occurred of Captain Albert Cannon, formerly of the Queensland Harbours and Marine Department.

Captain Cannon, who was born in Kent, England, in 1872, served with the Marine Department in Queensland from 1902 to 1937, when he retired because of age. He served as Harbour Master, pilot, shipping inspector, shipwright inspector, fisheries inspector, and beche de mer and pearl shell inspector.

Captain Cannon, who has left a widow, was buried in Toowong cemetery.37

Another obituary provided further details about Albert’s career and associations.


Many Maryborough friends will regret to learn of the death of the late Captain A. J. Cannon, late Harbour Master of Mackay. His death occurred in Brisbane on Thursday evening last. Capt. Cannon, an old Maryborough boy, joined the Marine Department in 1902 and retired in Mackay in 1937. The late Captain has been Harbour Master, pilot, shipwright, Surveyor, inspector of fisheries, shipping inspector, inspector of pearl shell and beche-de-mer fisheries.

Previous to his 14 years' service at Mackay, the late Captain held similar responsible positions in Port Douglas, Normanton, and the Gulf area. During the last war Captain Cannon was asked to re-join the department (owing to shortage of key men) and did relieving duties at Maryborough, Rockhampton, Mackay, and Normanton.

Captain Cannon married a Maryborough girl in 1904. She was Miss Mary (May) Isabella Wilson (an aunt of Miss L. Higgins, of Maryborough), and besides leaving a sad widow to mourn his loss, there is one nephew, Mr., F. Shilling, Creek-road, Maryborough, and Miss Gladys Bell, Mrs. Muriel Sweeper, and Mr. Ivan Bell, of Brisbane.

His funeral moved from Alex Gow's funeral parlour on Saturday morning at 9.30 o'clock for the Toowoong cemetery, the Rev. Mr. Beresford officiating. "JANE."38

Mary "May" Isabella Cannon, nee Wilson, died on 22 May 1959 in Mount Olivet Hospital, Kangaroo Point, Queensland. Mary was recorded as 83 years old, undertaking domestic duties, with the cause of death being a cerebral thrombosis, or stroke, secondary to arterial degeneration. Mary was also diagnosed with senility. Her parents were recorded as James Wilson, accountant, and Jane Turner. L. Higgins, her neice, was the informant, living at 3 Hurworth street, Bowen Hills. Mary was buried on 23 May 1959 in Toowong Cemetery.39

The fate of James Mordaunt Wilson, second son of James Wilson and Jane Turner, remains unknown.