Robert Waugh Irving 1819-1884 and Teresa Collins 1838-1911

Alnwick Castle in winter (2013) - Taken on 26 December 2013
Alnwick Castle in winter (2013) by Alexander Kachkaev – Click image to see original photograph

 2nd Great Grandparents – Paternal father’s line of Irving Family

Robert Waugh Irving was born in 1819 in Scotland, his father, James, was 27 and his mother, Isabella, was 23. Robert married Teresa Collins on 28 November 1859, in Alnwick, Northumberland, England. They had ten children in a period of 19 years, three were born in England, one was born onboard the ship Montmorency and six in Queensland, Australia. Robert died on 8 August 1884, in Townsville, at the age of 65. Teresa died in Winton on 14 February 1911 at the age of 73. They were both buried in Queensland, Australia.

Place holder for birth details.

Robert Waugh Irving was born in Scotland in about 1819 to James Irving and Isabella Patterson. However Robert’s actual place of birth is not known. It has been suggested that he may have been born in Leadhills, Lanarkshire, Scotland; this fact remains unsubstantiated and is subject to ongoing review.

Teresa Collins was born in Lancashire, England between October-December 1838. The name of her father was Loftus Collins but the identity of her mother remains unknown and is subject to ongoing review.

Census of 1851

Robert Waugh Irving and his sister Margaret were living in the National School House, Alnwick, Northumberland, during the England Census held on 30 March 1851. Robert was the School Master and Margaret was School Mistress, both were unmarried,

Place holder for marriage details.
Robert Waugh Irving, son of James Irving married Teresa Collins, daughter of Loftus Collins at Alnwick, Northumberland, England, on 28 November 1859.

Following the 1859 marriage Robert and Teresa lived in Alnwick, Northumberland when their first son, James, was born. Two further children, Leonard and Edith, were born at Yorkshire during 1863 and 1864.

Children of Robert and Teresa

  • James Loftus Irving [1860-1898] Spouse Helen Maud De Fraine
  • Leonard Irving [1863-1937]
  • Edith Teresa Irving [b.1864]
  • Marion Emily Irving [1865-1890] – Died aged 23 years 5 months
  • Walter Irving [1868-1896] Partner/Spouse Kate Fulbrook – Our Direct Ancestors
  • Albert Edward Irving [1870-1873] – Died aged 2 years 9 months and 21 days
  • Ethel Maude Irving [1872-1872] – Died aged 57 days
  • Eveline Louise Irving [1873-1894] – Died aged 20 years 10 months
  • Lilian Rose Irving [1875-1950] Spouse John Bertram Hood
  • Helena Maud Irving [1879-1951] Spouse Arthur Edward Eldridge Smith

Immigration to Queensland, Australia

In August 1865 Robert and Teresa together with their three children James, Leonard and Edith boarded the ship Montmorency and immigrated to Queensland, Austalia. During the voyage another child Marion was born off the coast of Van Diemen’s Land on 6 October 1865.

Montmorency, made a fine sight as the pilot joins at the end of their voyage. Much earlier, in 1860, she was the first official immigrant ship to the new state of Queensland.

Some excitement was caused in Bowen on the morning of 2 December 1865 by a signal at the Custom House announcing that Montmorency with 214 emigrants aboard, was in sight of the port.

Montmorency voyage took 119 days
Summary of 1865 Voyage of the Montmorency

The ship left the Downs on the morning of 3 August and experienced contrary winds and hazy weather. Nine days later it encountered adverse winds and cloudy weather followed by light winds for many days. A continuance of light winds prevailed until the ship crossed the equator 15 days later.

The ship commenced to make up for lost time by fair winds and fine runs from 16 September; but the winds stopped the Montmorency going through Bass Strait. Instead it passed round the south point of Van Diemen’s Land and thence northward on 16 November.

Sydney Heads was sighted and by the 26 November, the regular S.E. trade winds were encountered, the Montmorency was averaging six or seven knots; it made Port Denison at daylight on 1 December and the pilot came on board at 8.45 a.m. The ship was anchored off the town of Bowen at 10.45 a.m. and all the passengers were in good health.

The town and port of Bowen, is in northeast Queensland. It lies along Port Denison, an inlet of the Coral Sea, between Mackay and Townsville. Bowen remained the region’s principal port until overshadowed by Townsville, 100 miles (160 km) northwest.

Life in Cleveland Bay and Townsville 1866-1884

At Cleveland Bay in 1866, Robert Waugh Irving was appointed to the position of H.M. Customs Officer. This was the first of many Civil Service positions he would be appointed to in Queensland.

Robert was a devout man, he also opened a Sunday School in March 1866 and in the following year, as a member of the Church of England Committee, he helped obtain the services of a travelling clergyman for the town. In the absence of an Anglican minister, Robert also officiated with E.G. Grose, the local Postmaster, at Church services.

From 1868 to 1879 Robert and his wife Teresa were deeply involved in family activities. It was during this time that their final seven children were born. Two of the children, Albert aged three years and Ethel aged one month, died early. See Fanchart and list of children shown above.

Robert signed the petition to the Mayor about the need for a school and at a public meeting held on 27 May 1868, was elected as a member of the Provisional School Committee. Later, he was regularly appointed a member of the School Committee, a position he held for many years between 1868-1880.

An incident of civil disobedience happened in September 1876. Together with Antonius Blitz and several other prominent citizens, Robert Waugh Irving was charged with bathing within prohibited hours, but the case was dismissed when it came to court.

Robert was a member of the Townsville Aboriginal Protection Society from its foundation in June 1878. He was also involved in the establishment of the West End School. Six months later, in December 1878, with the help of the Rev. Mather and Mr. Richardson he conducted the annual examination at the primary school.

Until his death in 1884, Robert Waugh Irving had been employed as an auditor for the division Thuringowa, an electorate in the Legislative Assembly of the state of Queensland, Australia. The division encompasses suburbs of the former City of Thuringowa on the western edge of Townsville in North Queensland, stretching from Deeragun in the north to Kelso in the south. Following his death, he was replaced as auditor by John Newport Parkes.

From Townsville to Winton

Following Robert’s death, his son Leonard moved to Winton, Queensland and was initially employed as a storehand. He soon became a bookkeeper for Mr. Martin Gaughan, who ran a store under the firm name of Gaughan and Young. Leonard died at Winton, Queensland on 4 September 1937.

Robert’s wife Teresa and their daughters Helena Maude and Lilian Rose remained in Townsville, where they were living at North Ward in Carter Street, Townsville. Both Helena and Lilian were Music Teachers. In the early years of the new century Teresa, Helene, and Lilian, followed Leonard out to Winton to live.

Both daughters married in Winton, Helena became Mrs. Smith, whose husband was of the Bank of New South Wales staff, Winton, and Lilian became Mrs. J. Hood. Mr. Hood owned the wheel wright and blacksmith business known as Grant and Co., in Oondooroo Street, Winton. Both Lilian and Helena died in the 1950’s.

Place holder for death details.

Robert Waugh Irving died on 8 August 1884 and was buried at West End Cemetery, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Teresa Irving née Collins died on 14 February 1911 and was buried at Winton Cemetery, Winton, Queensland, Australia.

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Reviewed and updated on 13 March 2024