The Morehead Family

By Lyn Forde – President/Research Officer of St Marys & District Historical Society Inc.

THE Morehead family like many other families coming from overseas were determined to keep the name “Arthur” within the family tree. Arthur James Morehead, born in Ireland in 1810 came to Australia with his family on the “Thomas & Henry” as unassisted immigrants in July 1851 from Draperstown, a village in the Sperrin Mountains in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, shortly after settling in the Luddenham area at Greendale.  Arthur married Eliza Margaret Duff at Campbelltown in 1854 and they began farming in the area. A daughter Elizabeth married William Graham of Silverdale. William and Robert Morehead however settled in the South Coast near Bermagui. They became interested in trading and their boat the “Jane Morehead” was one of the best-known boats trading on the South Coast. In 1882 Arthur James was the owner of a sawmill in the area that was purchased by William Webb and in 1889 he was known around the district for winning with his prize race horses, draft horses and cattle at the Luddenham shows. In 1889 his horse “Lady Cooper” just lost a horse race to Arthur Graham’s “Jane” for £5 a-side and in 1891 a notice of a challenge from Abe Easterbrook giving Arthur notice to run a fair and square race with his horse “Blinkboy” against Arthur’s horse “Forsaken” with Arthur taking up the challenge for a half mile on Penrith Racecourse for any sum from £10 or more. The Luddenham show in May 1891 showed that several members of the Morehead family won prizes, Arthur won prizes for Best Filly Draft horse (1year & under 2 years) and in the cattle section he won best prize for two heifers. In August 1894 he was at a public send-off for Mr T J F Cadden who was the local manager of the Commercial Bank in Penrith and was being transferred to the Queanbeyan branch. In March 1896 he was still winning prizes at the show for two of his stallions “Limerick” and coaching mare “Juliet”.  Arthur James died in 1898 in Greendale and is buried at the St Marks Anglican church there. His son Arthur was born at Greendale, Luddenham in 1872 and married Martha Christina Earlam at St Thomas’s Church in Mulgoa in December 1893. Her parents were Isacc Earlam and Jessie Henderson. Arthur started farming in the Luddenham district and in 1904 he bought a well-known and highly improved property from the Walker family at Chatsworth Road, Mt Druitt. Few men in the district identified themselves more active and with the religious, pastoral, commercial and civic life of the community, he was always honoured and respected by all he encountered. He served as a Councillor on the Blacktown Shire Council for many years and was President for four terms. He was a member of the Cumberland Pastures Protection Board for about 27 years and at one time was the Chairman. This Board met originally at Penrith and later at Flemington then the headquarters moved to Moss Vale. Arthur considered the extra travelling too much for his health and he retired. He was also Chairman of the Nepean Co-op Dairy Society for several years and President of the well-known Mt Druitt Hall. He was a most active churchman and a regular worshipper. During his later years he took over the Secretary’s work of the “Log Cabin Church” that was destroyed by fire. He was keenly interested in livestock, cattle and horses in particular, and in his former years he was a noted exhibitor at shows and a great prize winner just like his father before him. It was said that a visit to his home was something never to be forgotten. Arthur was justly proud of his many trophies. His dairy herd was a notable one and he dearly loved both the blood horse and draught horse and a visit to a showground or a racecourse with Arthur always left pleasant memories. People said that men like Arthur came all too rarely, and his life and reputation in the Nepean district was an inspiration to others to go and do likewise. In 1921 Arthur bought 306 acres of land on the Great Western Road and Ropes Creek at Colyton and before his death Arthur sold some of his property and had hopes to spend his remaining years in another old historic home, but it didn’t eventuate. He died in March 1953 in the Nepean District Hospital after a short illness. Condolences and deepest sympathy in their bereavement were to his widow Martha of (Mt Druitt) his sons Messrs: Percy Herbert Arthur Morehead (Mt Druitt), Cyril Morehead-Government Stamps Office (Kingsford), Don Morehead (St Marys), Eric Keith Morehead (in Japan WW2 – 2nd AIF), Mrs Albert Ward (Wentworthville) and Mrs Daniel Brell (Homebush). Two daughters Misses Alice Nina and Thelma Ivy Morehead died before Arthur. Thelma died aged 44 years found drowned in a dam on her father’s property in 1950 and Alice died aged 50 years in September 1951 at Mt Druitt, and both are buried with their parents. Arthur’s funeral service was conducted by Rector the Reverend E H Lambert and Mrs Edith Pearson presided at the organ. It was very largely attended by a representative gathering of friends and relatives who travelled many miles to pay their last tribute to a good man and an old friend. Some of them could not get into the church that was full. Many fine tributes were paid to the Rector who delivered the funeral oration and who knew of the excellent qualities possessed by Arthur. Telegrams, letters and floral tributes came from all around the district. Among the visiting clergy were the Reverend A J Barrett (Mt Druitt) and Reverend Shearman (Wentworthville). Among the many businessmen present were Mr R Inglis (representing the well-known bloodstock salesmen) and many old identities from the Camden, Cobbitty, Luddenham, Mulgoa, Penrith, Richmond, Windsor, Parramatta and Blacktown districts. Arthur’s remains were laid to rest in the family plot in the old historic church ground to sleep among so many of the pioneers of the district. His widow Martha lived until May 1959 at the age of 88 years and is buried with Arthur at St Mary Magdalene cemetery. 

Sources: Nepean Times, NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages, Trove, Ancestry, Wikitree website, NSW State archives at Kingswood, Anglican Parish Records for Marriage at St Thomas’s church Mulgoa.