top of page

A Child of the Golden Era

It was the peak of the goldrush period in Victoria, Australia when Mary Ann Martin entered the world as the eldest daughter of Edward and his wife Mary. She was born in Welshpool in October, 1852. Later on her family would move to Cowwarr, Victoria.

When she was 19 years old, Mary Ann met and married engineer John Doctor Heywood. The couple then followed the 'gold trail' to Walhalla, previously known as Stringer's Creek. Alluvial gold had been discovered there by a party of prospectors in 1862 and the population in the area soon grew. This population explosion included the Heywoods. John would go on to own shares in the Lilliputian Gold Mining Company.

From there the couple moved to Leongatha and all up, would have 12 children.

Sadly, in 1899 both Mary Ann's parents died within a week of each other. Edward was 79 years old and was known to play the first cricket match, Brighton vs Melbourne, in Victoria after he came to the colony at 18 years of age. Along with his brother Jacob and others, he had chartered a sailing vessel and left England in 1834.

The grave of Edward and Mary Ann Martin at Toongabbie Cemetery, Victoria. Courtesy ozgenonline.

He also owned the piece of land where the Melbourne Town Hall now stands. It is said he exchanged it for a team of bullocks, which he felt would provide a better income for him and his family. The previous owner of the bullocks later sold the land for a considerable sum.

A week after the announcement of Edward's death, his wife Mary followed him. They are both buried in the Toongabbie cemetery.

The grave of the Heywoods buried in Toongabbie Cemetery in Victoria. Courtesy Billiongraves

The tragedy in the family wasn't to stop there, however, as John died in 1904. Mary Ann then moved to Traralgon, living at her residence, Yurragur. Three of her children predeceased her, before she also passed away in 1942. She is also buried in Toongabbie cemetery.

Her family left to mourn her were John, William, Ethel, Robert, Fred, Daisy, Cliff, Alma and Alice. Those that predeceased her were Edith, Harold and Leslie.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page