The beach at Mud Island Could this be the grave site?

The beach at Mud Island
Could this be the grave site?

Sarah Mills

(Norma Morse, whom I met on a “Friends of Peel Island” boat cruise, has kindly supplied me with this extract taken from her family history compiled by Irene Smith in June 1985. I have included a little of the history of the family prior to migration because it highlights an important reason why so many people chose to make the difficult and hazardous voyage to Australia – unemployment due to the industrial revolution then taking place in the UK and Europe):

Irene Smith: There are many descendants of my Great, Great Grandparents, Joseph and Sarah Mills (nee Small) who lived in Coventry, England. Joseph (senior) had a hand weaving Mill in Well Street, Coventry. This is all that has been obtained of the early history of the Mills family, as all records were destroyed during the bombing raids over Coventry, of the War in 1939-45.

Both Great, Great-Grandparents are buried in the Coventry Cemetery. One of the younger descendants in Australia, Lyle Ford, visited Coventry Cemetery recently, and found their graves, and attended to them. As far as is known of their family, they had a son, Joseph, born at Cromton, England, in the year 1816.

Later he-attended the Bablake school at Coventry. Joseph left school at the age of twelve.  After school years, Joseph worked at his father’s weaving Mill. When he completed his apprenticeship, he was admitted to the freedom of the City, Coventry, in June 1835.  At the age of nineteen years he married Sarah Hill, who was eighteen years of age, born in the year 1819. They were married in the Holy Trinity Church of England, Coventry, England, on the 24th. March I834.

As power machines were developed, and brought into existence for many business firms, the hand weaving mills gradually closed down.

Joseph and Sarah had eight children, two of the older children died from cold and sickness in England.  So they decided to move to a warmer climate. The deaths of the two children, and the mill closing down, was the cause of the family deciding to migrate to Australia, hoping for a better life for all the family.

So the decision was made and they planned to go to Queensland, Australia. In the year 1865, on March 10th, they left England on the Boat “LOBILIA”, from Plymouth, arriving in Morton Bay, Queensland, 2nd.July 1865. While anchored at Morton Bay, Sarah Mills became ill, and passed away on 6th July 1865. So, early on the 7th, July, Sarah’s body was taken ashore by some of the crew, and by order of the Ship’s Captain, was buried on Mud Island in Moreton Bay, Queensland, at the age of 46 years.

What a sad ending to their journey for Joseph and his family, to arrive in Brisbane and to begin a new life, in a new country, without their mother’s care.(3)


(1) Ludlow, Peter. Moreton Bay People-The Complete Collection. privately published, Stones Corner, 2000

(2) Ludlow, Peter. Moreton Bay Letters. privately published, Stones Corner, 2003

(3) Ludlow, Peter. Moreton Bay Reflections. privately published, Stones Corner, 2007

(4) Ludlow, Peter. The Port of Brisbane, Its People and Its Personalities, published by the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, 2013