Pioneering Families of Australia


Infant mortality


The Australian Bureau of Statstics (ABS) state that in 1905, around one in 12 infants did not survive to their first birthday (IMR of 81.8 in 1905); in 2005, only one in 200 infants born did not survive their first year of life.  

The lost children

This page is a dedication to those children born to our various grand and great grandmothers who did not survive infancy, there were quite a few of them, and also to the girls that were forced to grow up too quickly and hence lost their childhood.

Clara Diedrich 1880 aged 10 days  - Jaundice

Charles Diedrich 1882 aged 6 days  - Convulsions


and their mother Clara Diedrich who gave birth to young Clara at age 15, to Charles at 17 and then to


John Henry McLeod at 20 who lived  for less than 4 years.


In all Clara gave birth to 11 children.

John Ronald Kersley 1927 1940 - drowned aged 12

Charles Kersley 1868 - less than 1 year


Edward Kersley 1872 - 1879


Alice Kersley (1869-1888) died of severe burns when doing the washing

William Burrowes 1900 - aged 10 days

Mary Devlin 1877 - less than 1 year

August Diedrich 1858


Augustus Frederick Campion 1875

The children listed above are the ones for whom a birth and death certificate has been researched.


There are many more children whose birth is recorded but to to date I have not found a death record, also the list does not include miscarriages and still births.


The Little White Hearse

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox




Somebody's baby was buried to-day --

The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back,

And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay

As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way,

And a shadow seemed drawn o'er the sun's golden track.


Somebody's baby was laid out to rest,

White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold,

And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast,

And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed

With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold.


Somebody saw it go out of her sight,

Under the coffin lid -- out through the door;

Somebody finds only darkness and blight

All through the glory of summer-sun light;

Somebody's baby will waken no more.


Somebody's sorrow is making me weep:

I know not her name, but I echo her cry,

For the dearly bought baby she longed so to keep,

The baby that rode to its long-lasting sleep

In the little white hearse that went rumbling by.


I know not her name, but her sorrow I know;

While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more,

And back to my heart surged that river of woe

That but in the breast of a mother can flow;

For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.


Johana Robertson 1830 – 1831

Lilias Robertson 1858 died young

Marion Elizabeth Robertson 1861 – died young



Jean Gray McGilchrist 1873 – 1875

Eva Stevenson McGilchirst 1874 – 1876

Jeanie McGilchrist 1876 – 1876

James Valentine McGilchrist 1882 – 1887

William James McGilchrist 1887 – 1890

Cedric Charles 1891 - 1896